Tokyo Injects Fiat Money while Beijing Talks about Bond Attack on Japan

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 19, 2012

The territorial conflict for the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands on the East China Sea have revealed two things in the last few days. First, China’s thirst to defeat its rivals in the region, despite American interventionism. Two, China will not necessarily use military weapons. Instead, it will use its economic might.

While the Japanese Central Bank announced it will follow on the steps of the American Federal Reserve and European Central Bank in flooding the market with money to keep its economy afloat, in Beijing the Communist Party led government is now considering attacking Japan by imposing sanctions on its main funding source: the sale of government bonds.

China is Japan’s main creditor today with holdings of over $230 billion in Japanese government issued bonds. This is China’s strongest weapon at the moment, or at least the one that the Chinese may use to obligate Japan to withdraw from the territorial dispute that has now called for the intervention of United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The most recent asset purchase program in Japan was extended by about 10 billion yen (€ 97,200 Mn), to 80 trillion yen (778 000 € Mn). In turn, the types of interest are maintained between 0 and 0.1%, a level at which they are since October 2010. The same policies are now being used by the United States Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, which continue to facilitate funds to large financial institutions while denying loans to small and mid-size entrepreneurs.

The Bank of Japan opted, just like the Fed, to inflate its currency, by printing fiat money into the banking system in an attempt to revive the economy. As seen for the past 4 years, the insane policy of creating fiat money out of nothing does not work. In fact, it only prolongs the crisis because governments are not doing anything to kick start their economies.

The decision has favored the Nikkei, Japan’s stock market. Transactions closed with a rise of 1.19%. Stock markets are another tool in the rigged game that governments use to paint a colorful picture about otherwise dying economies, because they do not represent the actual state of those economies, but that of specific sectors. Stock prices, as in the case of Facebook, can be manipulated to show whatever the manipulators want to show.

The fake snowballing effect of the fiat money printing mechanism reached Europe, where the local markets received the news about the Japanese Bank injecting the worthless money into the economy as a good sign, which helped lift the markets.

In the meantime, in China, Jin Baisong, a member of the Chinese Academy of International Trade wrote on the China Daily newspaper that his government should “impose sanctions on Japan in the most effective manner” to bring Japan to its knees. He said China should consider invoke the security exception to punish Japan.

Other Chinese media such as the Hong Kong Economic Journal published an article about China’s plans to to cut off Japan’s supplies of rare earth metals which Japan needs to produce high tech consumer goods for local and international electronic giants. The considerations to punish Japan through credit lending, imposing cuts of raw materials and calling on international trade organizations to sanction Japan are three of the first steps China is considering to tame down the country’s intent to claim the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands as its property.

In the last two days, multiple protests exploded all over China against the Japanese which prompted many Japanese companies to close their doors for fear of retaliation.

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Lesson not Learned: The Fed Floods the Market with Fiat Money

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 14, 2012

Quantitative Easing is no longer an option for the private Federal Reserve and neither for the US. QE1 and QE2 did not avoid the fall of the United States, so QE3 did not make sense. Instead, Ben Bernanke has implanted a new fiat money manufacturing scheme I’d like to call Unlimited Easing.

In the same fashion that the European Central Bank is now able to buy unlimited amounts of debt from bankrupt countries like Spain, the Fed has given itself the prerogative to buy unlimited amounts of mortgage loans in an attempt to artificially lower interest rates and ‘stabilize’ the crashing home loan market. The $64 million question is how much will this unlimited easing help to rescue the mortgage market? Not much according to Ben Bernanke himself, who has said the move is not a panacea.

As some US media reported, the Fed once again pulled the trigger, but only to shoot the country on the other foot; an action that will certainly result in more difficult times for Americans. The U.S. Federal Reserve announced the ‘liquidity boost’ to help the economy and that such injection of fiat money will continue, which according to Ben Bernanke, shows the Fed’s commitment to help with the recovery. Double speak? Mind games?

At the end of their two-day meeting, the Fed said in a statement that it intended to “launch a program to buy mortgage-backed securities valued at $40 billion a month” and that the program would not have a limit in the amount spent or a deadline to conclude.

The organization led by Ben Bernanke said that if you add the “Operation Twist”, a program to swap short term bonds for long term ones, to the new scheme to buy mortgage backed securities, the Fed will be buying about $85 billion a month. Also, the U.S. central bank said it will keep interest rates at exceptionally low levels between 0% and 0.25%, until “at least mid-2015”, instead of the end of 2014 as announced in January of this year.

The Fed said that “highly accommodative monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time until the economy strengthens.”

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed), has defended the new measures adopted Thursday by the institution, while economists question the validity of a program that not even Bernanke sees as a real solution to the real problem. The chairman of the Fed insisted in his speech that his actions are not the “panacea” and “do not cure all ills” now affecting the economy.

In the press conference following the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Fed, Bernanke said that monetary policy alone — especially the wrong kind — will not solve all problems by itself, so politicians have to do their part. He also, emphasized that the Fed can not be rushed when leaving a highly accommodative monetary policy and pledged to hold such policy until the recovery is sustainable and allows for job creation.

However, he added that no set of policies can be extended until the objectives of his mandate are achieved. Those supposed goals include a significant improvement in employment, manufacturing and consumer spending. There is no need to say that under the current policies and the new ones the Fed has adopted, none of the goals will be ever accomplished. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The continuous unrestricted pumping of fake money into the economy will only prolong the disease.

Bernanke acknowledged that the situation in the labor market is still assessed as concerning, and stressed that the current level of economic recovery is not good enough to have the unemployment rate fall.

Globalist Larry Summers calls for QE3 as US Drowns in Debt

WASHINGTON POST | JUNE 5, 2012

With the past week’s dismal jobs data in the United States, signs of increasing financial strain in Europe and discouraging news from China, the proposition that the global economy is returning to a path of healthy growth looks highly implausible.

It is more likely that negative feedback loops are again taking over as falling incomes lead to falling confidence, which leads to reduced spending and yet further declines in income. Financial strains hurt the real economy, especially in Europe, and reinforce existing strains. And export-dependent emerging markets suffer as the economies of the industrialized world weaken.

The question is not whether the current policy path is acceptable. The question is, what should be done? To come up with a viable solution, consider the remarkable level of interest rates in much of the industrialized world. The U.S. government can borrow in nominal terms at about 0.5 percent for five years, 1.5 percent for 10 years and 2.5 percent for 30 years. Rates are considerably lower in Germany and still lower in Japan.

Even more remarkable are the interest rates on inflation-protected bonds. In real terms, the world is prepared to pay the United States more than 100 basis points to store its money for five years and more than 50 basis points for 10 years. Maturities would have to reach more than 20 years before the interest rates on indexed bonds becomes positive. Again, real rates are even lower in Germany and Japan. Remarkably, the United Kingdom borrowed money last week for 50 years at a real rate of 4 basis points.

These low rates on even long maturities mean that markets are offering the opportunity to lock in low long-term borrowing costs. In the United States, for example, the government could commit to borrowing five-year money in five years at a nominal cost of about 2.5 percent and at a real cost very close to zero.

What does all this say about macroeconomic policy? Many in the United States and Europe are arguing for further quantitative easing to bring down longer-term interest rates. This may be appropriate, given that there is a much greater danger from policy inaction to current economic weakness than to overreacting.

However, one has to wonder how much investment businesses are unwilling to undertake at extraordinarily low interest rates that they would be willing to undertake with rates reduced by yet another 25 or 50 basis points. It is also worth querying the quality of projects that businesses judge unprofitable at a -60 basis point real interest rate but choose to undertake at a still more negative rate. There is also the question of whether extremely low, safe, real interest rates promote bubbles of various kinds.

The renewed emphasis on quantitative easing is also an oddity. The essential aim of such policies is to shorten the debt held by the public or issued by the consolidated public sector, comprising both the government and central bank. Any rational chief financial officer in the private sector would see this as a moment to extend debt maturities and lock in low rates — the opposite of what central banks are doing. In the U.S. Treasury, for example, discussions of debt-management policy have had this emphasis. But the Treasury does not alone control the maturity of debt when the central bank is active in all debt markets.

So, what is to be done? Rather than focusing on lowering already epically low rates, governments that enjoy such low borrowing costs can improve their creditworthiness by borrowing more, not less, and investing in improving their future fiscal position, even assuming no positive demand stimulus effects of a kind likely to materialize with negative real rates. They should accelerate any necessary maintenance projects — issuing debt leaves the state richer not poorer, assuming that maintenance costs rise at or above the general inflation rate.

As my colleague Martin Feldstein has pointed out, this is a principle that applies to accelerating replacement cycles for military supplies. Similarly, government decisions to issue debt, and then buy space that is currently being leased, will improve the government’s financial position as long as the interest rate on debt is less than the ratio of rents to building values — a condition almost certain to be met in a world with government borrowing rates below 2 percent.

These examples are the place to begin because they involve what is in effect an arbitrage, whereby the government uses its credit to deliver essentially the same bundle of services at a lower cost. It would be amazing if there were not many public investment projects with certain equivalent real returns well above zero. Consider a $1 project that yielded even a permanent 4 cents a year in real terms increment to GDP by expanding the economy’s capacity or its ability to innovate. Depending on where it was undertaken, this project would yield at least an extra 1 cent a year in government revenue for each dollar spent. At any real interest rate below 1 percent, the project pays for itself even before taking into account any Keynesian effects.

This logic suggests that countries regarded as havens that can borrow long term at a very low cost should be rushing to take advantage of the opportunity. This is a view that should be shared by those most alarmed about looming debt crises, because the greater your concern about the ability to borrow in the future, the stronger the case for borrowing for the long term today.

There is, of course, still the question of whether more borrowing will increase anxiety about a government’s creditworthiness. It should not, as long as the proceeds of borrowing are used either to reduce future spending or raise future incomes.

Any rational business leader would use a moment like this to term out the firm’s debt. Governments in the industrialized world should do so too.

Vladimir Putin Calls Bernanke A Hooligan

by Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
July 13, 2011

Who would have thought that Ron Paul’s ideological ally in his quest to take down the Chairsatan would be none other than the Russian dictator-in-waiting (or rather, in actuality), Vladimir Putin. In a speech before the of economic experts at the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian prime minister had the following to say: “Thank God, or unfortunately, we do not print a reserve currency but what are they doing? They are behaving like hooligans, switching on the printing press and tossing them around the whole world, forgetting their main obligations.” What appears to have angered the former KGB spy is the end of QE2. According to RIAN: “Putin’s comments came in the wake of the completion of the US’ quantitative easing (QE) 2 program on June 30, in which the Federal Reserve bought $600 billion worth of its Treasury bonds. The Fed’s first round of QE, which ended in March last year, amounted to less than half the size of QE2.” We can’t wait to hear what expletive Putin will usher once Bernanke launches QE3.

What are the next steps: “The Russian authorities have said they would like to see a basket of currencies including the ruble replacing the dollar as the main reserve currency, although most analysts have said a more realistic target for Russia would be if the ruble became a regional reserve currency for the CIS.” Too bad most analysts are right 9 out of -7 times. And last time we checked Russia was the largest oil producer in the world, which means it can do pretty much whatever it wants. Which, assuming Russia forms a 21st century axis with China and Germany, as many have suggested, means that while analysts can downplay the impact of what Russian ambitions in the monetary arena mean, pretty soon the only reserve currency in the world will be the one backed not with Tomahawk missiles or printing presses, but actual, hard assets.

Competing Currencies: A Defense against Profligate Spending

by Rep. Ron Paul

The end of June marked what is hopefully the end of the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing. For months the Fed has purchased hundreds of billions of dollars of Treasury debt, enabling the government to fund its profligate deficit spending, push the national debt to its limit, and further devalue the dollar. Confidence in the dollar is plummeting, confidence in the euro has been shattered by the European bond crisis, and beleaguered consumers and investors are slowly but surely awakening to the fact that government-issued currencies do not hold their value.

Currency is sound only when it is recognized and accepted as such by individuals, through the actions of the market, without coercion. Throughout history, gold and silver have been the two commodities that have most fully satisfied the requirements of sound money. This is why people around the world are flocking once again to gold and silver as a store of value to replace their rapidly depreciating paper currencies. Even central banks have come to their senses and have begun to stock up on gold once again.

But in our country today, attempting to use gold and silver as money is severely punished, regardless of the fact that it is the only constitutionally-allowed legal tender! In one recent instance, entrepreneurs who attempted to create their own gold and silver currency were convicted by the federal government of “counterfeiting”.

Also, consider another case of an individual who was convicted of tax evasion for paying his employees with silver and gold coins rather than fiat paper dollars. The federal government acknowledges that such coins are legal tender at their face value, as they were issued by the U.S. government. But when it comes to income taxes owed by the employees who received them, the IRS suddenly deems the coins to be worth their full market value as precious metals.

These cases highlight the fact that a government monopoly on the issuance of money is purely a method of central control over the economy. If you can be forced to accept the government’s increasingly devalued dollar, there is no limit to how far the government will go to debauch the currency. Anyone who attempts to create a market based currency– meaning a currency with real value as determined by markets– threatens to embarrass the federal government and expose the folly of our fiat monetary system.  So the government destroys competition through its usual tools of arrest, confiscation, and incarceration.

This is why I have taken steps to restore the constitutional monetary system envisioned and practiced by our Founding Fathers. I recently introduced HR 1098, the Free Competition in Currency Act. This bill eliminates three of the major obstacles to the circulation of sound money: federal legal tender laws that force acceptance of Federal Reserve Notes; “counterfeiting” laws that serve no purpose other than to ban the creation of private commodity currencies; and tax laws that penalize the use of gold and silver coins as money. During this Congress I hope to hold hearings on this bill in order to highlight the importance of returning to a sound monetary system.

Allowing market participants to choose a sound currency will ensure that individuals’ needs are met, rather than the needs of the government. Restoring sound money will restrict the ability of the government to reduce the citizenry’s purchasing power and burden future generations with debt. Unlike the current system which benefits the Fed and its banking cartel, all Americans are better off with a sound currency.