Consumer Spending for Father’s Day


Armstrong Economics Blog/USA Current Events Re-Posted Jun 21, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Inflation will not deter Americans from celebrating Father’s Day. Consumers are expected to spend $20 billion on Father’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. An estimated 76% of the US population will observe the holiday, which also falls on the newly created Juneteenth holiday. Americans are projected to spend an average of $171.79 each to honor dad, which is in line with last year’s average of $174.10.

According to the survey of 8,297 consumers, around 40% had planned to purchase gifts online. The majority plan to take dad out to eat or for a special outing, which is a welcome boost to the struggling food and hospitality sector. “Despite growing concerns about inflation, consumers plan to spend approximately the same amount as last year in celebration of Father’s Day,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay stated. Around 64% of those surveyed noticed higher prices for gift options.

Father’s Day was established in June 1910 after retailers saw the success of Mother’s Day, which was adopted three years prior. President Nixon signed the holiday into law in 1972, and it has been observed on the third Sunday of June ever since.

El Erian Thinks the FED Will Flip-Flop on Rates in Response to Demand Side Contraction


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on June 17, 2022 | Sundance 

Mohamed El-Erian, a Blooomberg Opinion contributor, cracks me up in his efforts to avoid speaking directly.  Generally, El-Erian knows the situation, he was one of the first to identify the issue with inflation in March 2021.   However, he continues avoiding any mention that the U.S. economy is already in a negative position for growth.

Consider this…. In this interview El-Erian says he believes the Fed will flip-flop and lower rates in reaction to what is happening in the economy.  Keep in mind, the only reason for the Fed to reverse rates so quickly is if the economy is already in a demand side contraction and the latest .75% increase in rate is being done into a negative GDP environment.

Of course, the reality is exactly that.  The U.S. economy is already contracting, mostly because of inflation chewing up the supply side, and the Fed is factually raising interest rates into an economy already in a demand side recession.  But everyone must pretend that’s not the case, so here’s El-Erian saying Jerome Powell is going to end up reversing himself, flip-flopping, which doesn’t make sense if you don’t first establish that the economy is right now shrinking as he speaks.  WATCH:

The Federal Reserve Cannot Combat Inflation Alone


Armstrong Economics Blog/Inflation Re-Posted Jun 17, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Fed Chair Jerome Powell was notably frustrated when pressured about the Fed’s role in inflation. During his Q&A session this Wednesday, Powell plainly stated that the Federal Reserve alone could not combat inflation. It is far more complex than simply raising rates and hoping for the best. The Federal Reserve cannot increase the supply to meet demand. They have no say over clogged ports and closed factories. The Federal Reserve cannot reverse Biden’s policies that have made America energy-dependent, nor can it reserve sanctions against countries that hold essential supplies. As an independent entity, the Federal Reserve has no control over tariffs or diplomatic relations with regard to trade. Notably, the Federal Reserve cannot combat excessive government spending.

The US just sent another billion to Ukraine and plans to continue funding another endless war that does not support any domestic policy objectives. Jerome Powell has no control over the promises politicians make on the campaign trail to distribute free money to the public in exchange for votes. At any moment, lawmakers can implement policies that completely throw the entire economy off track. They had no say in the lockdowns or restrictions that crippled the economy in 2020.

The Federal Reserve miscalculated the situation by artificially lowering rates for a long time. They failed to look at other clear examples, such as Japan, and realize what has and has not worked historically. Powell admitted long ago that he misjudged the severity of inflation and was wrong to call it “transitory.” Unfortunately, when people in power make mistakes, the repercussions cause global shockwaves. Although separate entities, the White House needs to help the Federal Reserve tame inflation by re-evaluating its policies that are directly causing prices to rise.

Credit Card Debt on the Rise


Armstrong Economics Blog/USA Current Events Re-Posted Jun 14, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

The various handouts and moratoriums during the pandemic drove the personal savings rate down to World War II levels. Everything was closed – there weren’t many opportunities to spend. US consumers paid off a record $83 billion in credit card debt during the pandemic, but that has all come crashing down.

The Federal Reserve reported that revolving credit card debt in April reached $1.103 trillion, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and spiking 20% from the year prior. Credit card balances reached an alarming $841 billion in the first three months of this year alone, and the Fed expects that figure to continue rising due to the unsustainable price of living. In addition, household debt is now close to $16 trillion after consumer debt spiked 1.7% in Q1.

Unfortunately for those already behind, the rising interest rates will only cause them to carry a higher balance of debt. Once the prime rate rises, credit card companies will follow. The APR on credit cards is already 16.61%, nearing the high of 17.87%, on average, but is expected to rise. Debt can easily become a vicious cycle from which there is little escape for the average person. Those who budgeted in the belief that Biden would actually cancel their student debt were misled if not gullible. As housing, food, gas, and other necessities rise, those who are already void of liquid assets will find themselves in a dire situation.

The Dollar Crisis is Far Greater than Anyone Imagines


Armstrong Economics Blog/USD $ Re-Posted Jun 14, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: Marty, Socrates is worth its weight in something far more valuable than gold. I want to congratulate you for you are the ONLY adviser who nailed not just the cryptocurrency bloodbath, but that the dollar would rise when everyone else kept predicting it would crumble to dust. Then you warned that emerging markets would move into crisis defaulting on their debt. You said even China was in the same crisis because many borrowed in dollars since the interest rates were cheaper.

Is the dollar behind the banking crisis in China and with all the AI systems claiming a new world order, why are they failing when Socrates succeeds?

I am so grateful. I cannot tell you how much.

BME

ANSWER: I will answer the AI issue tomorrow. The dollar crisis is emerging because people do not understand capital flow analysis. They keep harping on the quantity theory of money. They assert that the more money the Fed creates, the more the dollar bust decline, and typically gold must rise. They do not understand that capital flows like water. It will always move to the lowest risk.

Milton Friedman came to listen to my lecture on foreign exchange in Chicago. We became friends and he explained to me that I was doing what he had only dreamed about. Yes, it was Milton who had advised Nixon on shutting down Bretton Woods and adopting a floating exchange rate system.

While many criticize Milton, they did not really understand what he saw. In 1953, he saw that a floating exchange rates system would provide a natural check and balance against the government policies. That is why he came to listen to me. I had developed capital flow analysis which was what he envisioned would happen under a floating exchange rates system. He theorized that in 1953.

I have been called in on so many FX crises it is amazing. They were selling Swiss loans to Australians in the 1980s to save on interest rates. They never considered what would happen if the exchange rate changed and the Swiss franc rose against the A$.

Just look at these two charts. The A$ was crashing and the Swiss franc rose. The default rate on mortgages exploded and small businesses who listen to bankers pitching Swiss loans to save money lost a fortune. The same crisis took place following the Swiss/Euro Peg when that broke.

Once again, the bankers were selling mortgages in the Swiss franc in Europe to lower interest rates. I cannot tell you how many times were have been called in on major financial crises around the world all for the very same reason. People make a loan in a foreign currency to save money on the interest rate. They have NO CONCEPT that the currency can swing even 40% in a short period of time.

The Chinese Central Bank warned its provinces and corporations NOT to borrow in dollars. They understood our model and understood what happens under such a currency crisis. Nevertheless, provinces and private corporations did not listen. They succumbed to the lure of the cheap interest rate.

I had even spoken with a major company and warned them the dollar would rise and there was a serious risk in emerging markets. They were new and as you say, they listened to the majority of opinions that took the opposite forecast. Now we see bank runs in China and serious problems in emerging markets.

Did the American Rescue Plan Cause Inflation?


Armstrong Economics Blog/Inflation Re- Posted Jun 10, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

The Biden Administration reiterated that its $1.9 trillion 2021 American Rescue Plan awarded “resilience” to the US economy. The remarks come after the plan, and the administration’s overall spending, came under harsh criticism from economists on both sides of the political spectrum. Senior advisor Gene Sperling stated that the plan would actually help to bring down prices in the long run. On the contrary, Steven Rattner, who served as counselor to the Treasury secretary under Obama, believes the plan was the “original sin” that contributed to the price hike.

Larry Summers agrees with Rattner, previously saying there was a chance the package would “set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation, with consequences for the value of the dollar and financial stability.”

“The American Rescue Plan saved our country from economic catastrophe, helped get millions of Americans back to work, and helped make sure American families had money in their pockets from tax cuts and rising wages,” a White House official reiterated. Global supply chain issues and pandemic restrictions caused inflation to rise in nearly every nation. However, inflation rose much faster in the US last year, even when excluding volatile energy and food prices.

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco analyzed the situation and determined: “Estimates suggest that fiscal support measures designed to counteract the severity of the pandemic’s economic effect may have contributed to this divergence by raising inflation about 3 percentage points by the end of 2021.” There is no doubt that the large spending package contributed to inflation, but it was not the sole cause. It did, however, give the people a taste of the beginnings of socialism and free government handouts, and that may be the most detrimintal result of the package.

European Debt Crisis Unfolding on Target


Armstrong Economics Blog/Sovereign Debt Crisis Re-Posted Jun 7, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

The European Central Bank (ECB) has a major crisis beginning. The free markets always win, and the spreads on the interest rates among the member of the EU are widening for Greece and Italy. Fools are telling Lagarde to use stronger language to signal that divergences among the member states will not be allowed to take place. The borrowing costs of more vulnerable countries such as Italy and Spain cannot be contained.

When they were creating the euro, the Commission attended our 1998 London Conference — the same one when I warned that Russia was about to collapse. It was then when I had a discussion with them, warning that a single currency WOULD NOT produce the same interest rate for all.

All the talk was that a single currency would set a single interest rate. I tried in vain to explain that would never happen. They were comparing it to the US federal government and I made it clear that they were not consolidating all the national debts and this meant that there could be no single interest rate and the difference in the currency would be transferred to the bonds instead. They simply refused to listen because that was one of the selling points to get the euro going.

It did not matter, they just wanted the euro at all costs. Now we see the widening of the spread and one central bank cannot impose a single interest rate any more than the Federal Reserve can control the interest rates all 50 states must pay to borrow money. In the United States, Massachusetts has the highest debt per capita in the country at about $11,130 with a AA rating while Tennesse has the lowest at about $875 and has a AAA rating.

The ECB knows it is facing a nightmare. The ONLY possible solution is to consolidate all the national debts of the member states and that would then become federal. Only then could it possibly be on the same footing with the dollar. Back then, the Bundesbank was against the euro. They were feeding us all the notes of the meetings because they really could not come out and speak. The Bundesbank understood the potential long-term crisis, and they opposed the merger of national debts.

So here we go again. COVID set off the fuse; Ukraine is the time bomb about to explode. As the soothsayer warned: Caesar beware!

SEC Warns Against Meme Stocks


Armstrong Economics Blog/Trading Re-Posted Jun 6, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning investors against popular “meme stocks.” Yet, they have gone too far by offering direct trading advice. Specifically, the SEC produced a video (see below) about GameStop (GME) that has retail investors reeling.

GameStop was certainly trading in volatile territory during Q1 2021. A group of online retail investors promoted the stock and allegedly were partially responsible for causing Melvin Capital hedge fund to lose 53% of its capital in January. The short squeeze seems to be highly exaggerated and the four largest asset managers in the world owned 39% of GameStop at the time. Those who traded properly, or simply got lucky, profited off of the volatility, but, obviously, that is not recommended for the amateur investor.

The problem here is that the SEC is trying to deter the retail investor to protect the hedge funds. The SEC should not be telling the public which stocks to avoid and I do not believe the shareholders of GME or other “meme stocks” will be happy with this advice.

Gold v Dow v Theories


Armstrong Economics Blog/Dow Jones Re-Posted May 30, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

COMMENT: I just wanted to comment on your “Endless Propaganda Behind the Dollar.” I attended your 2011 WEC in Philadelphia. I bought the stock market using the Dow stocks when it was 12,500. Gold was about 1600 and your forecast that the high was in place was amazingly correct as it fell to nearly 1000 after that.

You have opened my eyes to the real meaning of Adam Smith and the wealth of a nation is the productive capacity not this archaic view of commodity-based money. I know friends who even lost their marriages over gold.

Some of us goldbugs do listen.

Thank you so much.

JE

REPLY: The wealth of a nation is its people and their productive capacity. Russia is the wealthiest nation in raw materials, it does not make them the #1 economy. Germany has kept its old-world economic model of export which is also a throwback to the olden days.  Germany has been obsessed with the Quantity Theory of Money because of the hyperinflation they totally misunderstood. As a result, they keep their taxes very high and the German people are among the poorest in Europe despite the fact they are the #1 economy in the EU.

It’s not just the goldbugs who have lost, but these theories have screwed up the world economy. The central banks employ them to stimulate or suppress our demand, which has also failed. We have had negative interest rates in the EU since 2014 and economic decline. They have increased the money supply with NO impact on inflation at all post-2008. The inflation wave now is ONLY because of the lockdowns and shortages. It is not DEMAND driven and the dollar is rising, so it’s nothing to do with these old theories.

It does not matter. There are people who will fight what I say until the end. On the close of January 1980, the euro equivalent was 12285 and on the close of January 2022, it was 11236 so the dollar has risen not declined. Gold was $653 at the close of January 1980 and $1796 at the close of January 2022 which was a gain of about 175%. Crude oil closed in January 1980 at $20.18 and in January 2022 it was $88.15 which was about a 340% gain. Wheat for the same period was up 65%. But the Dow Jones Industrial Index was 875 at the close of January 1980 and 35,131 at the close of January 2022 posting a gain of 3914%.

Facts mean nothing to the diehards any more than facts mean anything to the climate change zealots. Will gold rise? Yes! Does it have a place in one’s portfolio? Yes. Silver coins may be better for small transactions when there is no power. But what will happen is that governments, in a desperate act of self-survival, will shut down communications, seize the internet, and seek to oppress the people before the government falls in the end. The German Hyperinflation had nothing to do with the quantity of money. In December 1922, the government seized 10% of everyone’s wealth and issued bonds that they defaulted on. That “forced loan” began the hyperinflation. People kept tangible assets anything but cash – coins, stamps, art, real estate. That is what 2032 is all about. We get to redesign a new government from the ground up.

The Democrats claiming that Blacks are too poor and too stupid to have ID to vote is all about creating fake votes so they can win. Even in Mexico to vote everyone has a voter ID with a photo and a fingerprint with a hologram to prevent forgery. So Mexicans are smarter people than American blacks? You can not travel without an ID. You can’t say gee, I’m poor and black, but I need to get on this plane even if I have no ID. This is all total BS and it is a desperate act by the Democrats to rig the game to ensure they can stuff the boxes with fictitious people who vote for a living and probably do not exist otherwise. I have blacks who work for me and it is a matter of law they too must have a SS# so the government gets their taxes from them.

So, welcome 2032 – We get to start all over again.

Interest Rates & The Chaos Ahead


Armstrong Economics Blog/Interest Rates Re-Posted May 25, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: Marty, Your forecast for the Panic Cycle here in Australian politics was correct and it beat all the polls as you did in BREXIT. Our new leader is a full-on board with the WEF climate agenda and will have all cars electric by 2030. As you say, in war you take out the power grid first. I guess this makes the power grid even more of a first-strike target.

I want to thank you for Socrates. It is great to have something that provides a non-emotional forecast. The forecasts you publish on so many things around the world are amazing and accurate.

So my question is this. You were correct that rates would rise, or Socrates was, and you said that there would be shortages with a commodity cycle mixed with war rising and civil unrest. So now that the central banks are in a state of panic, what do you expect with the panic cycle in 2023 in the Fed?

ANSWER: You are correct. Too many people attribute everything to just me as if I have a crystal ball. The forecasts are from the model. Nobody could be forecasting so many things for 40 years on a gut feeling and be correct. The odds of humanity are against that.

People tend to forecast what they want to happen. It is just an inherent human flaw. But it is also what drives markets. The majority of people are influenced by the direction of the trend. So a rising market makes people feel bullish and a declining market makes people more pessimistic. That is just a fact of life. So the ONLY hope for an accurate forecast MUST come from a non-emotional source. Staring into 2023 just looks like total chaos.

I do get the occasional email asking me how I cope with my own forecasts. I look at it this way. If I said here comes my fist, I’m going to punch you in the face. Do you just stand there and smile or do you dodge the punch, or defend against it? Isn’t it better to know something is coming to prepare?

It is more like an out-of-body experience for me personally because these forecasts are the computer and I have to stand here and watch as well as live through them. It is a different experience to forecast these events years in advance and live through them myself.

I am concerned that when you look around the globe, so many things have serious targets and panic cycles in 2023. Even in the war cycle, the computer has the highest aggregate bar for 2023. The central banks are unable to prevent inflation because this is a shortage crisis, not a speculative boom where raising interest rates will reduce the buying.

While the Central Bankers think this is clear sailing, they have entered uncharted waters. The risks of the markets discovering they cannot control the economy anymore will raise the crisis to extreme levels as we head into 2023.