Interest Rates

Of all the different elements of the economy, the direction of interest rates is most important. That’s why, as the editors of Profit Confidential, we expend a considerable amount of our time analyzing and providing guidance on interest rates. We believe that the unprecedented debt the U.S. has accumulated will eventually result in foreign investors demanding a better return on U.S. Treasuries. Too many U.S. dollars in circulation will also eventually force interest rates to rise.

Economics 101 suggests inflationary pressure builds during periods of low interest rates. The demand usually increases when people both borrow and consume more. As the price of goods and services is directly correlated with demand, it increases—resulting in inflation.

To tackle inflationary pressures, central banks increase interest rates. Why? Because once they increase interest rates, it is supposed to do the opposite of lowering the rates—forcing people to save and cut back on discretionary spending.

Following a 30-year down-cycle of interest rates in the U.S., we are on the cusp of a new 30-year up-cycle in interest rates; a move that could cripple the government and the economy. This is mainly because the government has added too much debt to its balance sheet, and the Federal Reserve has printed significant sums of money.

After phenomenal amounts of bailouts were doled out, followed by non-stop government spending, the U.S. national debt rose 76.2%—from $9.2 trillion in 2008, to $16.3 trillion in 2012. (Source: TreasuryDirect, last accessed November 27, 2012.)

It gets worse. The current administration said it would keep the budget deficit below $1.0 trillion. It hasn’t. For fiscal 2012, the federal budget deficit was $1.1 trillion, slightly below the $1.3 trillion deficit recorded in 2011. (Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 12, 2012.) What’s more, 2012 marked the fourth consecutive year in which the U.S. government experienced an annual deficit above $1.0 trillion. As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), the U.S. government’s budget deficit for the year 2012 stands at seven percent.

Along with skyrocketing government debt, the Federal Reserve has printed $3.0 trillion. Where did the $3.0 trillion come from? It’s not backed by gold. It was simply created out of thin air. And, the presses continue to print an additional $85.0 billion a month!

Looking at an even bigger picture, between January 2000 and September 2012, the amount of U.S. money in circulation (the “M1 money supply”) has increased 112%, or $1.25 trillion. That’s a lot of money printing.

Similarly, the “M2 money supply,” which includes the M1 money supply plus savings deposits, balances in money market mutual funds, and deposits, has increased 118%. M2 is a better measure of actual money supply. Since the beginning of 2000, M2 money supply has increased more than $5.4 trillion. (Source: Federal Reserve, October 11, 2012.) Again, the printing presses have been in overdrive.

Now think of it this way; as more money is created and more debt is added to the federal government’s balance sheet, U.S. economic viability becomes questionable. What does this mean? The interest rate at which the government is currently able to borrow is being kept artificially low. With the government adding more debt and the inflationary pressure building—something has to be done.

Derivatives: The $563-Trillion Reason to Look at Gold

By Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reason to Look at GoldInterest rates in the U.S. economy have been remarkably low since 2007. We’re now hearing many analysts and pundits suggesting they will rise sometime this year. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact time given, but when we look to the Federal Reserve, it seems very adamant about it, too.
Officials at the Federal Reserve are conti… Read More

U.S. Home Prices Could Fall This Year

By Friday, February 6, 2015

Home Prices RisingAsk any professional involved in the real estate market and they will tell you that when interest rates are low, it’s a great time to buy. Lower interest rates mean higher affordability because mortgage payments are smaller.
In December of 2014, the 30-year mortgage rate tracked by Freddie Mac stood at 3.86%—the lowest since May… Read More

Two Major Concerns About Overvalued Stock Market Prices

By Monday, November 17, 2014

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In September of this year, margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stood at $483.87 billion—a new record-high. When the stock market was forming a top in 2007, margin debt was at a “then” record-high of $329.51 billion. Margin debt on the NYSE is… Read More

Dow Jones Transportation Stocks Suggesting Bullish Fourth Quarter?

By Friday, November 7, 2014

Where Are Stocks HeadedIn terms of stock market direction, the Dow Jones Transportation Average recently pushed through to another new record-high. The index retrenched along with the broader market in early October, but it fought back hard to just over 8,800.
Within the index, countless stocks have been doing well. Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK) slumped t… Read More

These Poor 3Q Earnings Reports Foretell 2015’s Economy

By Friday, October 31, 2014

Poor 3Q Earnings Reports Foretell 2015’s EconomyAccording to research by UC Berkeley, in 2012, the top one percent of income earners in the U.S. earned 22.5% of all the income. The bottom 90%, on the other hand, earned less than 50% of all the income. (Source: Pew Research Center, January 7, 2014.) Income inequality in the U.S. economy is the highest it has been since 1928. The rich are g… Read More

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