Euro zone gives Greece 30 days to show good on deficit – Reuters
The tsunami of Greek fear begins to ebb and like proverbial clockwork the US$ drops almost 1%, the equity markets rally over 1% and Gold runs back above the $1100 level up over 1.5%.
By now, as readers of this blog, the financial market behavior described above should come as no surprise. I exposed the market’s playbook on Feb. 9th and directly addressed the perennial gold bears by saying, “They have not owned Gold during its nearly 300% increase over the last 10 years, but somehow, through a haze of delusional arrogance, they are sure prices have peaked.”
In the five days since that comment Gold has rallied 5%. Coincidence? Maybe. I’ll concede, sometimes we’re simply lucky, but when understanding is acute luck becomes more pervasive and that, my friends, is called success.
For the last few months, the fear of reduced stimulus and quantitative easing has gripped the markets. In an apparent effort to support the US$, government officials and Fed members have raised the expectations of economic growth and reduced expectations of Q.E.. I have, time and again, called this type of jawboning nothing more than propaganda. I explained as much in my Jan. 20th post and highlighted the “need for a new round of stimulus” demand from the conference of mayors on Jan. 22nd as the beginning of a shift in the wind.
Well, today, I would like to say, the wind is a steady 10-15kts in the direction of stimulus and looks to be increasing over the coming weeks. Evidence for this forecast below…
IMF tells bankers to rethink inflation – WSJ
WSJ reports the IMF’s top economist, Olivier Blanchard, says central bankers should consider aiming for a higher inflation rate than they do currently to lessen the chances of repeating the recent severe recession. Mr. Blanchard said the global economic downturn revealed flaws in macroeconomic policy, especially the reliance primarily on interest rates to manage economies. Although Japan had fallen into a decade-long funk despite low inflation and low interest rates, “most people convinced themselves that the Japanese didn’t know what they were doing,” Mr. Blanchard said in an interview. In a new paper with two other IMF economists, Giovanni Dell’Ariccia and Paolo Mauro, Mr. Blanchard says policy makers need to consider radically different approaches to deal with major banking crises, pandemics or terrorist attacks. In particular, the IMF paper suggests shooting for a higher-level inflation in “normal time in order to increase the room for monetary policy to react to such shocks.” Central banks may want to target 4% inflation, rather than the 2% target that most central banks now try to achieve, the IMF paper says.
Australian Finance Minister Says More Stimulus Needed
Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — Australian Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said the nation’s economy remains fragile and that it will require more stimulus this year.
Australia’s long-term debt, accumulated through the global financial crisis, is also a serious matter, Tanner said on Network Ten’s “Meet the Press” program.
G-7 Vows to Keep Economic Stimulus Even as Budget Deficits Grow
Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — Group of Seven finance ministers pledged to press ahead with economic stimulus measures even as investors intensify their focus on mounting budget deficits.
In conclusion, I’d like to accentuate the following analysis of the Japanese experience with private sector de-leveraging. I feel these issues are at the very center of the problems facing our markets…
Richard Koo’s book about the lessons from Japan’s balance sheet recession: The crux of his analysis is that governments have no option but to stimulate aggressively all the while the private sector is de-leveraging. ANY attempt at fiscal cuts simply results in renewed recession and a further loss of confidence, thus making it even harder and more costly to sustain any subsequent recovery and hence the budget deficit ends up bigger than before.