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Fed

You Still Believe The Fed Can Stop Deflation?

Recent history proves that the Fed’s “control” is just an illusion.

By Editorial Staff

Think back to the fall of 2007. The deflationary “liquidity crunch” that over the next year-and-a-half cuts the DJIA in half, decimates commodities, real estate and world markets is only starting. Almost no one believes that the crash is coming — to a large degree, because everyone is convinced that the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, with Ben Bernanke at the helm, will never allow deflation to happen: It can just print money!

The excerpt you are about to read is from EWI president Robert Prechter’s October 19, 2007, Elliott Wave Theorist. If you find it insightful, read more of Bob’s writings in the free Club EWI resource, “Robert Prechter’s Most Important Writings on Deflation.” (Details below.)

You cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on financial TV or read an economist’s report without hearing that the Fed’s latest discount-rate cut is bullish because it indicates the Fed’s decision to “pump liquidity” into the system. This opinion is so completely wrong that it is hard to believe its ubiquity.

First of all, the Fed does not “decide” where it wants interest rates. All it does is follow the market. Figure 17 proves it. Wherever the T-bill rate goes, the Fed’s “target rate” for federal funds immediately follows. That’s all there is to it.

The FED Follows the Market

If you refuse to believe your eyes, then listen to the chairman; Alan Greenspan is very clear on this point. On September 17, a commentator on CNBC asked, “Did you keep the interest rates too low for too long in 2002-2003?” Greenspan immediately responded, “The market did.” Rates were not “too low” or the period “too long,” either, because the market, not the Fed, made the decision on the level and the time, and the market is never wrong; it is what it is. If investors in trillions of dollars worth of U.S. Treasury debt worldwide had demanded higher interest, they would have gotten it, period.

Second, falling interest rates are almost never bullish. All you have to do to understand this point is look at Figure 18.

Falling Rates are not Bullish

Interest rates fell persistently through three of the greatest bear markets in history: 1929-1932 in the Dow, 1990-2003 in the Japanese Nikkei, and 2000-2002 in the NASDAQ. The only comparably deep bear market in the past 80 years in which interest rates rose took place in the 1970s when the Value Line index dropped 74%. Economists all draw upon this experience, but they ignore the others. Today’s environment of extensive investment leverage and an Everest of debt in the banking system is far more like 1929 in the U.S. and 1989 in Japan than it is like the 1970s. Why is a decline in interest rates bearish in such an environment? Because it means a decline in the demand for credit. When people want less of something, the price goes down.

The recent drop in rates indicates less borrowing, which means that the primary prop under investment prices — the expansion of credit — is weakening. That’s one reason why stock prices fell in 2000-2002 and why they are vulnerable now. This is the opposite of “pumping liquidity”; it’s a slackening in liquidity.

Read the rest of this important 63-page report, “Robert Prechter’s Most Important Writings on Deflation” online now, free! All you need is to create a free Club EWI profile. You’ll learn:

  • When Does Deflation Occur?
  • What Triggers the Change to Deflation
  • What Makes Deflation Likely Today?
  • How Big a Deflation?
  • Why Bernanke Has Been Powerless Against Deflation
  • The Big Bailout Bluff
  • MORE

Read more about the Deflation Survival Guide here.

Elliott Wave International (EWI) is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. EWI’s 20-plus analysts provide around-the-clock forecasts of every major market in the world via the internet and proprietary web systems like Reuters and Bloomberg. EWI’s educational services include conferences, workshops, webinars, video tapes, special reports, books and one of the internet’s richest free content programs, Club EWI.

Understanding the Fed: Free 34-page eBook now available

Our friends at Elliott Wave International have just released a free 34-page eBook, Understanding the Fed. It’s the free report the Federal Reserve doesn’t want you to read!

This eye-opening free report, which represents more than 10 years of research by Robert Prechter, goes beyond the Fed’s history and government mandate; it digs into the Fed’s real motivations for being the United States’ “lender of last resort.” In this 34-page report, you’ll discover how the Fed’s actions, combined with public outrage, may ultimately lead to its demise, plus much more about its secret activities and how it affects your money.

Download your free copy of EWI’s Understanding the Fed eBook, here.

About the Publisher, Elliott Wave International
Founded in 1979 by Robert R. Prechter Jr., Elliott Wave International (EWI) is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Surviving Deflation: First, Understand It

Deflation is more than just “falling prices.” Robert Prechter explains why.

By Editorial Staff
The following article is an excerpt from Elliott Wave International’s free Club EWI resource, “The Guide to Understanding Deflation. Robert Prechter’s Most Important Writings on Deflation.”

The Primary Precondition of Deflation
Deflation requires a precondition: a major societal buildup in the extension of credit. Bank credit and Elliott wave expert Hamilton Bolton, in a 1957 letter, summarized his observations this way: “In reading a history of major depressions in the U.S. from 1830 on, I was impressed with the following: (a) All were set off by a deflation of excess credit. This was the one factor in common.”

“The Fed Will Stop Deflation”
I am tired of hearing people insist that the Fed can expand credit all it wants. Sometimes an analogy clarifies a subject, so let’s try one.

It may sound crazy, but suppose the government were to decide that the health of the nation depends upon producing Jaguar automobiles and providing them to as many people as possible. To facilitate that goal, it begins operating Jaguar plants all over the country, subsidizing production with tax money. To everyone’s delight, it offers these luxury cars for sale at 50 percent off the old price. People flock to the showrooms and buy. Later, sales slow down, so the government cuts the price in half again. More people rush in and buy. Sales again slow, so it lowers the price to $900 each. People return to the stores to buy two or three, or half a dozen. Why not? Look how cheap they are! Buyers give Jaguars to their kids and park an extra one on the lawn. Finally, the country is awash in Jaguars. Alas, sales slow again, and the government panics. It must move more Jaguars, or, according to its theory — ironically now made fact — the economy will recede. People are working three days a week just to pay their taxes so the government can keep producing more Jaguars. If Jaguars stop moving, the economy will stop. So the government begins giving Jaguars away. A few more cars move out of the showrooms, but then it ends. Nobody wants any more Jaguars. They don’t care if they’re free. They can’t find a use for them. Production of Jaguars ceases. It takes years to work through the overhanging supply of Jaguars. Tax collections collapse, the factories close, and unemployment soars. The economy is wrecked. People can’t afford to buy gasoline, so many of the Jaguars rust away to worthlessness. The number of Jaguars — at best — returns to the level it was before the program began.

The same thing can happen with credit.

It may sound crazy, but suppose the government were to decide that the health of the nation depends upon producing credit and providing it to as many people as possible. To facilitate that goal, it begins operating credit-production plants all over the country, called Federal Reserve Banks. To everyone’s delight, these banks offer the credit for sale at below market rates. People flock to the banks and buy. Later, sales slow down, so the banks cut the price again. More people rush in and buy. Sales again slow, so they lower the price to one percent. People return to the banks to buy even more credit. Why not? Look how cheap it is! Borrowers use credit to buy houses, boats and an extra Jaguar to park out on the lawn. Finally, the country is awash in credit. Alas, sales slow again, and the banks panic. They must move more credit, or, according to its theory — ironically now made fact — the economy will recede. People are working three days a week just to pay the interest on their debt to the banks so the banks can keep offering more credit. If credit stops moving, the economy will stop. So the banks begin giving credit away, at zero percent interest. A few more loans move through the tellers’ windows, but then it ends. Nobody wants any more credit. They don’t care if it’s free. They can’t find a use for it. Production of credit ceases. It takes years to work through the overhanging supply of credit. Interest payments collapse, banks close, and unemployment soars. The economy is wrecked. People can’t afford to pay interest on their debts, so many bonds deteriorate to worthlessness. The value of credit — at best — returns to the level it was before the program began.

Jaguars, anyone?

Read the rest of this important 63-page deflation study now, free! Here’s what you’ll learn:What Triggers the Change to Deflation

  • Why Deflationary Crashes and Depressions Go Together
  • Financial Values Can Disappear
  • Deflation is a Global Story
  • What Makes Deflation Likely Today?
  • How Big a Deflation?
  • More

Elliott Wave International (EWI) is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. EWI’s 20-plus analysts provide around-the-clock forecasts of every major market in the world via the internet and proprietary web systems like Reuters and Bloomberg. EWI’s educational services include conferences, workshops, webinars, video tapes, special reports, books and one of the internet’s richest free content programs, Club EWI.