Lombardi: Stock Market Commentary & Forecasts, Financial & Economic Analysis Since 1986

U.S. Dollar

US Dollar Devaluation Prediction for 2014

A debt crisis has taken the western world by storm, but few seem to be sounding the alarm. The U.S dollar, the go-to currency for global economic stability and growth, is imploding at an unprecedented rate.

Profit Confidential editors have been critics of the U.S.’s inability to reign-in government spending. Based on the White House’s own figures, the national debt will reach $20.0 trillion by the end of this decade—about 140% of our current gross domestic product (GDP).

Historically, countries that have incurred considerable debt and consistent national debt-to-GDP multiples of 120% or more have experienced currency devaluation. The U.S. dollar has been in a free-fall against other major world currencies since 2009.

You have to print money to make money. No one knows this better than the Federal Reserve. Since November 2008, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has initiated three rounds of quantitative easing (QE) in an effort to create more economic activity and increase home prices.

Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has printed roughly $3.0 trillion. And, it’s climbing each month by an additional $85.0 billion.

What have three rounds of QE accomplished? It was supposed to increase lending, create more jobs, and lower the unemployment rate. Instead, banks are sitting on a pile of cash and remain tight-fisted, fewer jobs have been created, and the unemployment rate remains high.

What QE has done is flood the global markets with trillions of U.S dollars. It’s not as if this new-found money is backed by gold. It’s simply created out of thin air.

In essence, the U.S. Federal Reserve, in an attempt to save the U.S., has ravaged and devalued the U.S. dollar. In the process, it has also eroded international confidence in the U.S. economy and the green-back.

What’s keeping the U.S. economy afloat? The Federal Reserve is artificially propping up the entire U.S. economy by buying a majority of the government debt issued by the Treasury department. As a result, the U.S. government has become dependent on borrowing (creating money) to finance itself. (Source: ”WSJ: Fed Buying 61 Percent of US Debt, Moneynews, March 28, 2012.)

Where does the U.S. government get the money to buy the bonds? It gets the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air. This is a dangerous, unsustainable trend that cannot continue. The U.S. cannot continue to issue government debt and then print the money to pay for said debt.

At Profit Confidential, we expect the devaluation of the U.S. dollar to continue as the U.S. continues to pile on the debt. You can find regular commentary on the U.S. dollar in Profit Confidential.

Should You Buy Into the U.S. Dollar Rally?

By for Profit Confidential

U.S. Dollar: The Best of the WorstSince May, when it was near an all-time low, the U.S. dollar has rallied. Compared to other major currencies of the world, the greenback is up five percent since July, as the chart below illustrates.

The question: should investors get into this U.S. dollar rally?

Dear reader, the U.S. dollar is not moving higher because the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are getting better. It’s moving higher because other parts of the global economy are doing worse than the U.S.

The eurozone economy is so weak that the European Central Bank has lowered interest rates again, pushing the value of the euro lower. In the United Kingdom, Scotland is looking for independence. The crisis between Russia and Ukraine continues without resolution. New troubles are brewing in the Middle East. China reported yesterday it would start pumping money into its largest banks.

US Dollar Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Right now, with the majority of major world central banks either printing more of their paper money or bringing interest rates even lower, the U.S. is the best of the worst.

But I believe the rally in the U.S. dollar will be short-lived.

Central banks are trying to move away from the U.S. dollar as their reserve currency. At one point, trade in the global economy was dominated by the U.S. dollar. This is changing, slowly but surely.

Consider just one of many recent examples; the Chinese and Argentinian central banks will be doing an $11.0-billion currency swap operation. This will allow Argentina to increase its reserves and pay for Chinese imports in yuan—the deal was signed in July. (Source: Reuters, September 7, 2014.)

Putting … Read More

Why Aren’t Gold Prices Rising?

By for Profit Confidential

Guess Who Just Bought Gold for the 14th Consecutive QuarterThe numbers are in…

In the second quarter of 2014, world central banks bought 117.8 tonnes of gold bullion compared to 92.1 tonnes a year earlier—a jump of 28%. Central banks have been net purchasers of gold bullion for 14 consecutive quarters!

According to the World Gold Council, “Economic and geopolitical events throughout the world are sources of ongoing instability and uncertainty. Such events reinforce the requirement for appropriate risk management by central banks through holding gold reserves for asset diversification.” (Source: “Gold Demand Trends Q2 2014,” World Gold Council web site, August 14, 2014.)

Hog wash, I say. Central banks are buying gold bullion because they are slowly moving away from U.S. dollars as their reserve currency and replacing them with gold bullion.

In the second quarter, Russia purchased 54 tonnes of gold bullion, Kazakhstan purchased seven tonnes, and Tajikistan bought three tonnes. Combined, just these three central banks made up more than 54% of all the official purchases of gold bullion in the second quarter.

You won’t see the central banks of France or Germany buying gold bullion because they already have enough (that’s if Germany can ever get its gold back from the U.S.).

So if demand for gold bullion is rising, as evidenced by central banks buying more, gold coin sales near record highs, and gold demand in India rising again now that the government is easing tariffs on gold imports, the million-dollar question is why aren’t gold prices rising?

There is plenty of discussion on the Internet about gold manipulation and how prices are purposely being kept down. I can’t comment on that, but I … Read More

Two Reasons Why Interest Rates Will Rise

By for Profit Confidential

U.S. Dollar Under BRICS PressureThe U.S. dollar is still regarded as the reserve currency of the world. The majority of international transactions are settled in U.S. dollars and most central banks around the word hold it in their foreign exchange reserves.

But since the Credit Crisis of 2008, and the multi-trillion-dollar printing program by the Federal Reserve, the supremacy of the U.S. dollar as the “world’s currency” has been challenged.

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have agreed on starting a new development bank that will compete with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. (Source: Washington Times, August 5, 2014.) Both the IMF and World Bank are “U.S. dollar”-based.

Since the year 2000, the U.S. dollar composed about 56% of all reserves at central banks. But after the Credit Crisis, that percentage started to decline. In 2013, the greenback made up only 32.43% of all foreign exchange reserves at foreign central banks. (Source: International Monetary Fund COFER data, last accessed August 11, 2014.)

Yes, the $3.5 trillion in new money the Federal Reserve has created out of thin air has made other central banks nervous about holding U.S. dollars in their vaults. After all, if you were a foreign central bank with U.S. dollars as your reserve currency, how good would you feel to know the U.S. just printed more dollars as it needed them without any backing of gold?

But it’s not just the money printing. It’s the massive debt the U.S. government has accumulated…currently at $17.6 trillion and soon to be $20.0 trillion.

In the short-run, the U.S. dollar is still considered a safe … Read More

The Era of Financial Insanity

By for Profit Confidential

What Happens Next for the Stock MarketMy colleague Robert Appel (BA, BBL, LLB) issued a research paper to the subscribers of one of his financial advisories earlier this week. I thought it important that all my readers be aware of and understand the crux of what Robert is saying about our current economic situation and where it will eventually lead.

Here it is:

“The actions of the Federal Reserve (how far they went to ‘stabilize’ the economy) after the Credit Crisis of 2008 is unprecedented in American history. Of course, I’m talking about the Federal Reserve printing nearly $4.0 trillion in new U.S. dollars while keeping interest rates artificially low for almost six years now.

These actions have caused an ‘era of financial insanity’ that penalizes seniors, savers, and prudent investors, while rewarding borrowers, those who leverage, and risk-takers.

It encourages public companies to doctor their own bottom lines by borrowing money (at cheap interest rates) to repurchase their own shares. This reduces the denominator of their earnings numbers—giving only the illusion of prosperity—and also reduces share float, thereby putting upward pressure on stock prices since more money is suddenly chasing fewer shares.

Articles have appeared in several well-known financial publications, with sources, citing central banks around the world have injected $29.0 trillion into equity markets because they themselves simply could not manage a return at the very same rates they were inflicting on others!

The prime beneficiaries of these insane monetary policies are the banks themselves and the government itself. Because low interest rates allow Washington (and other, similar, fiat regimes) to manage debt payments that could not otherwise be managed in a ‘normal’ interest … Read More

The Sobering Issue

By for Profit Confidential

Why Our National Debt Will Double From HereAccording to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, next year, the government is expected to incur a budget deficit of $469 billion and then another budget deficit of $536 billion in 2016. (Source: Congressional Budget Office web site, last accessed July 21, 2014.) From there, the budget deficit is expected to increase as far as the projections go.

Yes, the government’s own estimates are that our country will run a budget deficit every year for as long as the government’s forecasts go.

That’s quite unbelievable. We live in a country where the government (and politicians) feel it is okay to continue being “negative” every year, indefinitely. It’s like I’ve written many times: if our government were a business, it would have gone bankrupt long ago. But the government, through its non-owned agency, the Federal Reserve, has the luxury of printing paper money to fund its budget deficit and debt. If a business did that—printed money to pay its bills—that would be illegal.

Today, the U.S. national debt stands at $17.6 trillion with about $7.0 trillion of that incurred under the Obama Administration. (Is it any wonder a CNN/ORC International poll said this morning that 35% of Americans say they want President Obama impeached with about two-thirds saying he should be removed from office?)

But what happens to the budget deficit once interest rates start going up? We’ve already heard from the Federal Reserve that interest rates will be sharply higher at the end of 2015 and 2016 than they are now.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury was able to borrow money (issued long-term bonds) at an interest … Read More

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