(TRUNEWS) Following Janet Yellen’s speech Monday, economic analyst and frequent TRUNEWS guest Peter Schiff has published an article laying out what he thinks is the truth behind the Fed’s jargon, and the likelihood of an interest rake hike before the November elections.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A Fed official walks into a bar and says the economy is improving and rate hikes are appropriate. The patrons order another round to celebrate. Then disappointing data comes out, the high fives stop, and the Fed official ducks out the back…only to come back the next day saying the same thing. Anyone who pays even the smallest attention to the financial media has experienced versions of this joke dozens of times. Yet every time the gag gets underway, we raise our glasses and expect the punch line to be different. But it never is. Last week was just the latest re-telling.
For nearly a month the Fed’s bullish statements stoked optimism on the economy and raised expectations, based particularly on the most recent FOMC minutes, for a summer rate hike. But these hopes were dashed by the May non-farm payroll report, which reported the creation of only 38,000 jobs in May, the worst monthly performance in six years, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The number missed Wall Street’s estimate by a staggering 120,000 jobs. If not for the 37,000 downward revision reported for April (160,000 jobs down to 123,000), May could have shown a contraction. This would have constituted a major black eye to the Obama Administration’s favorite talking point that its policies have led to 75 months of continuous job gains. (6/3/16, Democratic Policy & Communications Center).
To make the report even stranger, the plunge in hiring was accompanied by a drop in the unemployment rate to just 4.7%. Of course the fall in the unemployment rate was a function of another major drop in the labor force participation rate to just 62.6%, matching the June 2015 rate, which was the lowest level since the late 1970s (BLS). So the unemployment rate did not fall because the unemployed found jobs, but because they stopped looking. The market reaction was swift and sharp, as it always has been when a fresh shot of cold water has been thrown in the face of market boosters. The dollar fell hard and gold rose sharply.
But we can rest assured that despite any embarrassment that the Fed may be experiencing for having so gloriously misdiagnosed the current economic health, it will be right back at it in a few days, telling us about all the positive economic signs that are emerging and how it is ready and willing to start raising interest rates at the earliest opportune moment. Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren waited exactly 48 hours to start that campaign as he sounded bullish notes in a Monday speech in Finland. (6/6/16, Greg Robb, MarketWatch)
Given how many times this scenario has unfolded, leading to the point where even reliable Fed apologists like CNBC’s Steve Liesman have begun questioning the Fed’s credibility, one wonders what the Fed hopes to achieve by continuously walking into the bar with a new smile. But this performance is the only policy tool it has left. The Fed appears to believe that perception makes reality, so it will never stop trying to create the rosiest perception possible. It may view its own credibility as expendable.
But there is another cycle here that is much more influential on the current market dynamic and should be much easier to spot. When the Fed talks up the economy and promises rate increases, the dollar usually rallies. When the dollar rallies, U.S. multi-national corporate profits take a hit, and the market falls. When the market falls, economic confidence falls and puts pressure on the Fed to maintain easy policy. This is a loop that the Fed does not have the stomach to break.
The Fed has to keep talking about rate hikes so it can pretend that its policies actually worked. But the truth is that the Fed policies have not only failed, they have made the problems they were trying to solve worse, and raising interest rates will prove it. So the Fed resorts to talking about rate hikes, to maintain the pretense that its policies worked, without actually raising them and proving the reverse. This can only continue as long as the markets let the Fed get away with it or until the numbers get so bad that the Fed has to admit that we have returned to recession. That is the point where the Fed’s real problems begin.Peter Schiff is Chairman of SchiffGold, CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, Inc, and host of The Peter Schiff Show. Peter is an economic forecaster and investment advisor influenced by the free-market Austrian School of economics. He is one of the few forecasters who accurately and publicly predicted the 2007 housing market collapse and subsequent 2008 financial crisis. His latest best-selling book, The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy – How to Save Yourself and Your Country, warns that the 2008 crisis was just the prelude to a larger sovereign debt crisis in the United States that may lead to a collapse of the US dollar. Peter recommends long-term investment in foreign markets with sound fiscal policies, as well as global commodities including physical precious metals.
Full article: Peter Schiff: The truth about Yellen’s rate hike (TRU News)