The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, is due to speak in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later today and according to some of the investment notes that I receive, he is expected to commit that central bank to a third round of credit creation from thin air, otherwise known in these mealy-mouthed days as “quantitative easing.” There are doubters out there about the wisdom, or lack thereof, of this. We can of course expect the usual devotees of hard money to scoff at this, but what intrigues me is how some economists in the commercial world are hostile. Take this from Steen Jakobsen , chief economist at Denmark-based Saxo Bank:
“When talking about the impact from Quantitative Easing (QE) one has to realise that most academic studies show that the biggest “impact” from QE on markets comes from the actual announcement of it rather than the execution of it. An analysis of the two prior QE introductions point to a 50 to 100 basis point reduction on bond yields and subsequent inflation of equities via “a feel good” factor – the so-called wealth effect.”
“But realistically, what has been the net impact of QE1 and QE2? Chairman Bernanke has used 3,000 billion US Dollars to create what? Nothing! Unemployment is still above 9.0 per cent, the housing market is still in a slump, and now the only successful thing going for the Fed is the stock market’s rise from the floor at 666.00 in March 2009. But now there’s talk of an interbank funding crisis and unrealised losses. It certainly smells like 2008, doesn’t it? Or what about August 2010? – Yes! It is almost a 100 per cent analogy to last year. It’s actually like watching the movie Groundhog Day.”
I like his final paragraph:
“There is another political theory stating that the best environment to create growth in is one in which politicians have no power to pass legislation (similar to the U.S. situation for now until the U.S. elections). Think about Clinton: he had a major “programme” coming in as President, yet failed to get anything whatsoever done in his eight years in the White House which then led to the biggest growth period in U.S. history. What does this tell us? Total radio silence works as the micro-economy – investors, consumers and companies – adjust their behaviour and consumption to the new reality and then start moving forward. The last thing that we need is “political noise” and promises of better days ahead with nothing to back them up.”
I can think of a good book on the collapse of paper money that I can send this man.