Bernanke is in the midst of a very divided FOMC, where half of the members didn't support QE to begin with, and he is being pressured to "taper off" the $85 billion a month purchases of US Treasury securities.
You can see the effects in global and domestic equity prices in the very idea of the end of Quantitative Easing, noting the volatility that has been created certainly in the last three or four weeks. People are scared that central banks are going to withdraw pabulum from the Hopium Cloud. That's the only thing supporting equity prices.
Now Bernanke is trying to hedge his bets because he's under pressure. He's got a more sharply divided board than ever existed in the Fed. The same can be said if the ECB, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan. They're all in the same situation where board members are sharply divided on continuing QE. This uncertainty then is being played out in the markets.
What this should be telling the Unwashed is how dependent equity and real estate prices have become on QE. PIMCO's Mohammed El Arian calls it the "growth gap" and says it's still significant enough that all asset prices, not only equities but real estate as well, become very dependent on QE. Why? Because the "growth gap" which is the gap between so-called real economic growth and the rise of asset prices continues to grow. This means that asset prices can only be sustained through continuing QE.
Another internet wag called David Rosenberg has called for "stagflation redux" writing that "the next major theme is stagflation -- this will be the legacy of the Bernanke regime."
It should be noted that stagflation is a completely made-up word by the media which is supposed to be a combination of stagnation and inflation. The correct terminology which nobody likes to use is disinflation. In other words, there are three economic states -- inflation, disinflation and deflation. There is no such thing as stagflation.
A disinflationary economic environment is simply an environment in which inflation continues to fall but has not moved below zero. But it's not a global phenomenon. Japan for instance is still in the grips of deflation because its inflation rate is in the red meaning it's below zero.
The United States and Britain on the other hand have the two highest inflation rates in the industrialized world but even the US is fallng. Why? Because the Fed and the Bank of England have been the most aggressive in terms of quantitative easing which has turned down the deflationary pressure that had existed both in the US and British economies.
These massive rounds of QE by all the central banks on the planet have effectively stemmed deflationary pressure resulting from the break of the 2004-2007 bubble. However it has not caused reinflation. The global central banks have not been successful in reinflating the planet's economy which they have all been successful in doing in the past through some sort of quantitative easing measures which is nothing but another word for good old fashioned monetary stimulus.
Meanwhile the governments can not produce any fiscal stimulus which is necessary to go along with the monetary stimulus in order to reinflate the planet's economy because all of the planet's governments are hamstrung and can do nothing.
But to get back to Roubini's forecast of Gold going to $1000, it should be noted that in a previous column we had written called "What's Going on with Gold? (Part 2): Pent-Up Demand Spurs Gold Buyers" (4-24-13) -- "So where is the ultimate back-off in Gold here? It's probably $1100 or $1200. That's ultimately where we're headed, which coincidentally is the average production cost of an ounce of Gold. This then will be equalized with the actual cost of production."
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* AL MARTIN, author of "The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran Contra Insider," is an Independent Political-Economic Analyst with 25 years of experience as a trader on NYMEX, CME, CBOT and CFTC. He is also currently trading the commodity futures market day and night and has a teleconferencing service to facilitate transactions in the markets. This is a service for independent experienced traders.
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