Naomi Prins: “Since late 2007, the Federal Reserve has embarked on grand-scale collusion with other G-7 central banks to manufacture a massive amount of money…”
ZeroHedge, Aug 30, 2017 – Excerpts:
The Winners and Losers
Since the global financial crisis, the biggest G7 winners have been the Big Six US banks that profited from access to cheap money. They benefited from central bank purchases of their securities that exaggerated the value of the remaining securities on their books. They used “printed” or electronically crafted money to stockpile cash and fund buybacks of their own shares and pay themselves dividends on those shares. By producing and distributing artificial money, central bankers distorted reality in global markets. Multi-national banks were co-conspirators in that maneuver.
After the Big Six banks passed their latest round of stress tests, they began buying even more of their own shares back. The move elevated their stock prices further. The largest U.S. bank, JP Morgan Chase, announced its most ambitious program to buy back its own shares since the 2008 crisis, $19.4 billion worth. Citigroup followed suit with a $15.6 billion buy-bank plan.
The Fed’s all-clear was just another version of quantitative easing (QE) for banks. Instead of buying bonds via QE programs, the Fed greenlighted banks to further speculate in their own stocks, creating more artificiality in the level of the stock market. In all, US banks have disclosed plans to buy back $92.8 billion of their own stock to say thank you to the Fed for the “A.” That was piling on to their existing trend; according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, “Stock repurchases by financial companies in the S&P 500 rose 10.2% in the first quarter [of 2017] and accounted for 22.2% of all buybacks.”
More ominous than that was another clear sign that a decade of money-conjuring collusion helped the same banks that caused the last crisis. Proof came in the form of a letter to the U.S. Senate banking committee from Thomas Hoenig, the vice-chairman of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the government agency in charge of guaranteeing people’s deposits. He wrote that in 2017, U.S. banks used 99% of their net earnings toward purchases of their own stock and paying dividends to shareholders (including themselves).
They thus legally manipulated markets in plain sight by pushing their own share prices up with cheap money availed to them by the central bank that is supposed to regulate them.
As of this year, global debt levels stood at 325% GDP, or about $217 trillion. The $14 trillion of assets the G-3 central banks held on their books is equivalent to a staggering 17% of all global GDP. The European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of Japan (BOJ) and Bank of England are still buying collectively $200 billion worth of assets per month.
In the wake of that buying, noncash instruments – crypto currencies and hard assets like gold, unrelated to the main G-7 monetary system – have become increasingly attractive on the fear that in another major downturn or crisis, central banks and private banks will retract cash and liquidity from their customers.
In that likely event, banks will protect themselves and turn to governments and central banks again. In the absence of some sort of outside central bank benchmark, like a modern gold standard or use of currency basket benchmarks like the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR), currency wars will continue to be fought.
With rates hovering between zero and negative in some countries, there would be little to no room to maneuver in the face of another crisis. Thus – another thing has become increasingly clear: Central bankers have demonstrated gross negligence regarding the consequences of their monetarily omnipotent actions.
If rates were to rise higher in the US (and I don’t think we’re in for more than another 25 basis points, this year which is under last year’s Fed forecast) so would the cost of servicing that debt. That would hurt companies domestically and abroad, induce more defaults and a rush by the banks involved in derivatives associated with that debt to concoct more toxic assets. The vicious cycle of central bank bailouts would reverberate again.
Savers and pensioners are getting close to no interest on their nest eggs. Depositors are paying banks to house their money through fees that offset negligible interest. Small businesses have to jump through hoops to get loans for expansion purposes. Wages are stagnant. Ultimately, big banks had played the system — and us — again, this time with central banks helping to fund them. The threat of an even larger collapse looms as stock markets and global debt have been propelled higher.
As we approach the ninth anniversary of the collapse of one of my former employers, Lehman Brothers, and the 10th anniversary of the beginning of central bank collusion into the financial crisis, there has been – no change – in global G7 central bank monetary policy.
While speaking to the monetary policy glitterati at central bank base-camp [Jackson Hole], Yellen declared any dialing back of regulatory reform measures for banks should be “modest.” She said, “The evidence shows that reforms since the crisis have made the financial system substantially safer.” There was no mention of the unprecedented decade of easy money bolstering the financial system – that makes it appear – solvent.
For all the cheap cash offered up, much at the expense of taxpayers who will bear the burden of the associated debt this enabled, and the bank fraud it plastered over, it will be ordinary citizens who will pay the price – yet again. In the era of money fabrication and monetary policy collusion, a decade of ongoing “emergency” procedure spells an eventual recipe for disaster.
Big US banks are bigger than before the crisis. They float atop a life-raft, among other things, of $4.5 trillion Fed asset book, as part of a total $14 trillion G7 central bank asset book. Yellen’s speech was code for preserving the status quo and central bank elasticity high……
Take the composite of all that and what are you left with? Ongoing G7 central bank monetary policy collusion, zero percent interest rates globally, unlimited QE potential, and major asset bubbles.
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