Highlights of the week of September 16, 2013:

USA DebtFOMC

Dear PGM Capital Blog readers,
In this weekend’s blog edition, we want to discuss some of the most important events that happened in the global capital markets, the world economy and the world of money in the week of September 16, 2013:

  • FOMC Meeting of, September 17 & 18, 2013
  • The Reserve Bank of India raised interest rates to 7.5 percent, on September 20th, 2013, to curb inflation.
  • USA raising the Debt ceiling for three more months on September 20, 2013.

FOMC Meeting of, September 17 & 18, 2013:
Despite a near uniform consensus on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve would start to withdraw its economic stimulus this month, the FED, surprised strategists by announcing Wednesday, September 18th, in the afternoon that it would indefinitely maintain its bond-buying program at full strength.

Investors have spent much of the summer selling off their Treasury bonds, Gold and Silver, to prepare for the gradual end of the Fed’s bond-buying program.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, after the FED’s announcement that they will not start tapering their bond purchasing program, Gold had it’s best one-day moving since January 2009, rising US$ 61.70 an ounce or 4.72 percent to close the day at US$ 1,369. 30 an oz as can be seen from below chart.

Gold 3-Day Chart

Stocks, jumped also into record high territories, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index jumped 20.76 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 1,725.52, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 147.21 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 15,676.94. Both indexes reached record nominal closing highs.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 37.94 points, or 1 percent, to 3,783.64, its highest close since late September 2000, when the dot-com boom was fading.

Movements in the bond markets were much more extreme. The price of the Treasury’s 10-year note jumped 1 11/32, to 98 11/32, while its yield dropped to 2.69 percent, from 2.85 percent late Tuesday, to close the day at a 2-week low of 2.71 percent as can be seen from below 5-day chart.

5 day yield 10-year note

The FOMC said fiscal policy was “restraining economic growth” and expressed concern about rising mortgage rates and the still high unemployment rate. Bernanke said the FOMC’s ability to mitigate the impact of a debt ceiling crisis was “very limited”.

Bernanke has linked any tapering of the QE’s policy to a sustained decline in the unemployment rate. US unemployment dipped to 7.3 percent last month, down from 8.1 percent a year ago. But the pace of job recovery remains sluggish and the latest drop was driven in part by people deciding to leave the workforce. The labour force participation rate slumped to 63.2 percent, its worst reading in 35 years.

The US Dollar Index reacted sharply and negatively on the FED statement and decision, sending it plummeting against a basket of currencies and toward levels not seen in three months as can be seen from below chart.

US Dollar Index Chart on September 18 2013

In his news conference after the Fed’s statement, the FED Chairman, Mr. Bernanke suggested that a pullback in the securities buying program of the FED, could begin later this year, but he said that Fed officials had determined that the economy was not on strong enough footing to begin adjusting its stimulus programs this month.

Please watch below press conference of the FOMC chairman Ben S. Bernanke, of September 18, 2013.

Link to press release FOMC statement op September 18, 2013 meeting.

The Reserve Bank of India raised interest rates to 7.5 percent, on Friday, September 20, 2013: 
India’s new central bank governor has raised key interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point in an attempt to reduce inflation.

The repo rate – the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial banks – was raised from 7.25 percent to 7.50 percent.

The cash reserve ratio – the percentage of banks’ deposits they must keep in cash – has been kept unchanged.

Earlier this week, the rate of inflation hit an annual rate of 6.1 percent, which was a six-month high.

“Bringing down inflation to more tolerable levels warrants raising the repo rate by 25 basis points immediately,” Reserve Bank of India (RBI) president Raghuram Rajan said.

“Hiking the repo rate was unexpected. The governor is clearly worried about inflation. He is saying the improved international conditions will take care of the current account deficit funding and his focus will shift to fiscal deficit and inflation, which were taking a backseat,”

India’s main share index fell sharply after the announcement to trade 2.6 percent lower, while the rupee extended earlier losses to trade at 62.32 against the dollar.

India’s economy has been hurt by a range of factors in recent months.

Its growth rate has been hit by a slowdown in key sectors such as mining and manufacturing.

USA raising the Debt ceiling for three more months on September 20 2013:
President Barack Obama is once again warning House Republicans that he will not negotiate over a debt-ceiling increase, even as the U.S. government moves closer to its borrowing limit.

Obama called Speaker John Boehner Friday night to reiterate his hard-line stance. The Ohio Republican’s office said the president called to say “he wouldn’t negotiate with him on the debt ceiling.”

Obama_Boehner

Given the long history of using debt limit increases to achieve bipartisan deficit reduction and economic reforms, the speaker was disappointed but told the president that the two chambers of Congress will chart the path ahead,

The House vote late Friday morning was 230-189, with Republican Rep. Scott Rigell (Va.) as the only Republican to vote against the US$ 986 billion, three-month package. Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Jim Matheson of Utah crossed the aisle and voted for the bill. Matheson and McIntyre both opposed Obamacare’s passage.

The Republican-drafted continuing resolution, or CR, keeps the government operating until Dec. 15, 2013, allowing the House and Senate time to try to reach deals on the 12 individual appropriations bills. None of those bills has been enacted yet.

Following Friday’s rare display of party unity, the House Republican Conference will be tested next week when the bill returns.

PGM Capital comments:
It should be clear for everybody following the financial news, that the indebted USA  has become addicted to QE’s and raising of the debt ceiling. It is also worth mentioning, that agreement reached last Friday September 20th for raising the debt-ceiling, the third increase is in 2013, after it has been raised in January and May of this year.

Long derided by Austrian economists and inflation hawks everywhere, quantitative easing (QE) has been the Federal Reserve’s primary tool for combating the devastating effects of the Great Recession. First enacted in 2008, the Federal Reserve has purchased trillions of dollars in Treasury bonds and collateralized debt obligations — specifically mortgage-backed securities. QE1 saw the Fed expand its balance sheet from between US$ 700 billion and US$ 800 billion in Treasury notes before the crisis to some US$ 2.1 trillion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities it had purchased from financial institutions by June 2010.

Not content with the pace of the recovery, the FED commenced a second round of easing in November in 2010. Under that iteration, the Fed bought US$ 600 billion in long-term Treasuries and reinvested nearly US$ 300 million from the proceeds of bonds it had previously bought. The aim of the program was, and remains, to drive down Treasury yields and discourage safe-haven investing.

Below chart shows the correlation between the implementation of rounds of QE and the value of the S&P 500.

Correlation between QE's and value of the S&P-500

After the unwinding of QE1 and QE2, the market experienced corrections as the FED withdrew the stimulus, which has an inherent inflationary effect. By increasing the amount of dollars in circulation, asset prices rose. Each time the FED announced it would cease pumping money into the economy via permanent open market operations, traders became bearish on stocks and commodities.

These rounds of QE’s are meant to shore up banks’ capital and spur lending by freeing them of toxic mortgage derivatives, which were in demand in the run-up to the crisis. Many of those securities, however, were backed by sub-prime loans, which were also partly responsible for the housing bubble.

On Friday, September 20th, James Bullard, St. Louis Fed Chairman,  regarding the FOMC decisions on changing the pace of asset purchases said in an interview with Bloomberg that:

  • He prefers to keep more emphasis on the idea that such decisions are data dependent and that the FOMC can afford to be patient. given that inflation is low.

  • A small taper is possible in October” and the decision not to move at the latest meeting was “borderline.

On his comment about the possibility of a small taper in October, the markets sold off, for which Gold and Silver received a haircut.

Source:

A side effect of these QE’s is that they have created inflation in Emerging markets and Asia Economies from which the USA is buying goods using these printed money by the FED.

Due to this we believe that, sooner or later, these excessive amounts of printed US Dollar will return home to the USA. When this happens, it has the potential of making the US Dollar worthless, spiking interest rates and, causing a hyperinflation in the USA.

Due to this we advise our readers, to stay away from the (USA) treasuries and to buy gold as a hedge against the coming economic Armageddon.

History has proven that in the eye of the storm, the Gold to Silver ratio, have decreased to a ratio of approx. 15 as can be seen from below 100-year technical Gold to Silver ratio chart.

100-year Gold to silver ratio Technical Chart

Due to this we believe that at current Gold to Silver ratio of 60.5, Silver is heavily undervalued.

Before following any investing advice, always take your investment horizon and risk tolerance into consideration and keep in mind that the price of Gold, Silver and other precious metals as well as the stocks of their producers can be very volatile and that sharp corrections may happen in the short term.

Yours Sincerely

Eric Panneflek

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