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End of the Bernanke Put is Here

Stock-Markets / Stock Markets 2012 Jul 19, 2012 - 03:17 PM GMT

By: Graham_Summers

Stock-Markets

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFor well over a year, even after Ben Bernanke admitted that the consequences of QE outweighed the benefits, the financial media world is awash with claims that QE 3 is just around the corner. It doesn’t matter than it’s been over a year. Nor does it matter that the Fed has staged 10 FOMC meetings without launching more QE, everyone claims QE is coming.


Guess what? It’s not. And I’m going to lay this idiotic theory to rest right here and now.

First off, the Fed cannot launch QE because of the political climate in the US. In case you missed it, the last time the Fed engaged in a large monetary move (outside of just extending some pre-existing policy) was in November 2011 when it facilitated a coordinated Central Bank move to lower the pricing on the existing temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap arrangements.

The political response to this was extreme. Every GOP candidate under the sun began to target the Fed. Some began calling for Bernanke to be fired.  Meanwhile, Obama became totally silent on defending the Fed. Let that sink in for a moment. Obama, who reappointed Bernanke, didn’t defend Bernanke’s actions. In fact he acted as if nothing had happened.

The message was clear: the Fed had become politically toxic and if Obama wanted a shot at re-election, he needed to distance himself from the Fed.

It was only a few months later that the Fed went into full on damage control mode by increasing its town hall meeting efforts (Bernanke now goes to colleges to explain why the Fed is great), writing complaints about how the media is presenting its moves during the financial crisis along, and of course the now famous “Bernanke’s a normal guy who drives a Sebring and reads a Kindle” article in the Wall Street Journal.

Consider that Bernanke, only a few years ago, lied to Congress about monetizing debt. Around that same time the Inspector General in charge of oversight of the Fed said that the Fed:

1)   Didn’t know where it was sending hundreds of billions of Dollars.

2)   Had not launched any investigations into where the money had gone

3)   Had not launched any investigations into why Lehman Brothers had been allowed to fail

Has everyone forgotten this? Bernanke, the savior of capitalism, Time Magazine’s Man of the Year, and arguably the most powerful human being in terms of monetary clout ON THE PLANET is now going into classrooms to explain why the Fed is wonderful and should continue to exist.

Even more than that, he’s having his favorite mouthpiece at the Wall Street Journal portray him as a normal American who drives a US car and reads his kindle. This is the HEAD OF THE FED we’re talking about. Since when does Bernanke need anyone to depict his private life? The guy used to tell the media to get stuffed when it snooped around the Fed’s actions… now he’s openly going to the media asking to get profiled?

Folks, the political game has changed in the US. The Fed is no longer invulnerable. In this climate more QE cannot possibly happen. End of story. Indeed, if the Fed were to launch QE at any time between now and the election, Obama is DONE. The last possibly chance for QE without it being a clear hand-out to Obama (and a gift from the political gods to Romney) was June. The Fed passed on that.

Don’t believe me? Why do you think Obama is privately begging Germany and EU leaders to keep the EU together until after November? He knows the Fed cannot step in and save the day without killing his chances at re-election. END. OF. STORY.

Finally, there’s a simple monetary reason the Fed cannot engage in more QE: BANKS NEED TREASURIES. Treasuries are the ONLY senior asset on bank balance sheets that are increasing in value (don’t even try to claim that mortgage bonds, corporate bonds or muni bonds are attractive to banks given what the banks know about the ongoing debt crisis in the world).

More QE pushes the US Dollar down. So for the Fed to engage in more QE would mean the Fed would be buying appreciating assets from the banks (which can be leveraged up for trades… remember all the big banks are now basically hedge funds) in exchange for cash which yields next to nothing and would be depreciating in value if more QE was announced.

The banks need all the Treasuries they can get their hands on. I know, I know, ultimately Treasuries will be worth much less when the debt crisis hits the US. But it hasn’t yet.

If you’re a large bank what would you rather own? Treasuries or some other sovereign bond which either yields nothing (Germany, Japan, France) or which is about to default (the PIIGS and others)?

The answer is obvious. You want Treasuries. We’re not talking about ideals here; we’re talking about reality. And in today’s financial reality, Treasuries are the best senior most asset a bank can buy. WHY would a bank want to hand these off to the Fed for cash, which yields nothing?

I could go on and on, but the reality is the above arguments alone erase any reason for the Fed to launch QE any time soon, if ever. The ONLY reason the Fed would launch QE would be if liquidity needs were so desperate for the banks that the would be willing to give up their senior most assets in exchange for cash to meet day to day liquidity needs.

And if we get to that point in the US again, QE will be the LAST of our worries.

So, QE is not coming. End of story. You can continue to argue otherwise based on some idealistic view of the world, but the reality is Europe and Japan’s bond markets are both on the brink of collapse. US banks want all the Treasuries they can get. In a perfect world, they’re not great investments, but they’re far more attractive that the alternatives in the REAL world.

So… if you’re still investing based on the idea that QE is coming and that the Bernanke Put is firmly in place, you’re going to be in for a HUGE surprise in the coming months. QE isn’t coming. And the Bernanke Put is losing its credibility rapidly.

Which means… the primary prop underneath the US stock market and financial system (namely Fed intervention) is slowly being removed. What follows will not be pretty and smart investors should be taking steps now to prepare in advance.

Those investors looking for actionable investment ideas could also consider our Private Wealth Advisory newsletter: a bi-weekly detailed investment advisory service that distills the most important geopolitical, economic, and financial developments in the markets into concise investment strategies for individual investors.

To learn more about Private Wealth Advisory and how it can help you navigate the markets successfully…

Click Here Now!!!

Graham Summers

Chief Market Strategist

Good Investing!

http://gainspainscapital.com

PS. If you’re getting worried about the future of the stock market and have yet to take steps to prepare for the Second Round of the Financial Crisis… I highly suggest you download my FREE Special Report specifying exactly how to prepare for what’s to come.

I call it The Financial Crisis “Round Two” Survival Kit. And its 17 pages contain a wealth of information about portfolio protection, which investments to own and how to take out Catastrophe Insurance on the stock market (this “insurance” paid out triple digit gains in the Autumn of 2008).

Again, this is all 100% FREE. To pick up your copy today, got to http://www.gainspainscapital.com and click on FREE REPORTS.

Graham also writes Private Wealth Advisory, a monthly investment advisory focusing on the most lucrative investment opportunities the financial markets have to offer. Graham understands the big picture from both a macro-economic and capital in/outflow perspective. He translates his understanding into finding trends and undervalued investment opportunities months before the markets catch on: the Private Wealth Advisory portfolio has outperformed the S&P 500 three of the last five years, including a 7% return in 2008 vs. a 37% loss for the S&P 500.

Previously, Graham worked as a Senior Financial Analyst covering global markets for several investment firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. He’s lived and performed research in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States.

© 2012 Copyright Graham Summers - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Graham Summers Archive

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