gainspainscapital.com / By Graham Summers / December 27, 2012
The following is an excerpt from the latest issue of Private Wealth Advisory. In it I outline the relationship between the Fed’s commitment to low interest rates, the scramble for high grade collateral driving the sovereign bond markets, and how the whole mess will eventually come crashing down.
Private Wealth Advisory is a bi-weekly market advisory service, providing its readers with expert insights into the global economy and the driving forces behind the financial markets’ moves. To learn more about Private Wealth Advisory… Click Here Now!
The US Fed is committed to keeping interest rates low for the simple fact that if interest rates were to rise then the payments on the debt would send the US into an EU-syle debt crisis along with the commensurate intense austerity measures being implemented.
Unfortunately for the Fed, the bond markets may indeed force this in spite of the Fed’s efforts.
Weimar Germany, like most historic episodes of hyperinflation, occurred when Germany’s Central Bank began monetizing its debts. This worked until the country lost credibility in the international bond markets at which point the Central Bank was forced to monetize everything resulting in a currency collapse and one of the worst episodes of hyperinflation in history.
The US has been moving increasingly down this path which each new QE program. The two reasons the US has not yet entered an inflationary death spiral are:
1) The fact that the US continues to maintain its credibility in the bond markets (at least compared to Europe and Japan).
2) Large financial institutions’ needs for high-grade sovereign bond collateral.
Regarding #1, the US has never defaulted on its debt. Compared to Germany (another safe haven), which has defaulted on its debts twice in the last 100 years, the US remains one of the most credible governments in the world, regardless of how bad the country’s finances are becoming (for now at least).
Regarding the collateral situation, as I’ve explained in recent articles one of the most critical issues in the financial system is the shortage of high grade collateral to backstop the $700 trillion derivatives market.