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Some Holes In the Fed’s Story
Chris Marcus

While many in the financial markets often take what the Federal Reserve says as gospel, given everything that’s occurred over the past decade, it’s worth considering a few unanswered questions that the central bank has yet to explain.

Perhaps the most important of which is that if we are now a decade after the last financial crisis, and the economy is really as strong as the president and Federal Reserve continue to assert, exactly when will it be time to finally undo the unprecedented monetary easing?

If all of the stimulus actually worked, then wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that by this point, what was long ago sold as temporary could finally be undone?

Yet here we are in 2019, and both the interest rate level and quantitative easing balance remain far from anything that could be considered “normal.”

Federal Reserve officials decided in late January to pause their steady campaign to raise interest rates as the global economic outlook became less certain and financial markets failed to appreciate the Fed’s willingness to shift if the economy weakened, according to the minutes of that meeting released on Wednesday.

Fed officials concluded that a pause posed “few risks” for a strong economy in which prices continued to increase at a subdued rate, the minutes show. The Fed did not see any immediate threats to America’s economic expansion, but officials indicated they were worried enough about potential risks — including slowing growth in China and Europe, trade tensions, a volatile stock market and a prolonged government shutdown — to postpone rate increases.

So which is it? Is the economy strong? Or are there significant risks facing the markets? Talk about covering both sides of the argument at once!

Additionally, how are prices rising at a subdued rate, when even the extremely generous CPI figures say that last month’s core inflation is already past the Fed’s 2% mandate?

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in January (SA); up 2.2 percent over the year.

In regards to the Fed’s balance sheet, I was stunned last year when I heard chairman Jerome Powell announce that his new definition of “normal” was now $2.5-3 trillion. As opposed to the $800 billion level where the balance sheet stood before QE began. When it was sold as “temporary”.

I also wrote last year that even as divergent as the $2.5-3 trillion estimate was from the original plan introduced in 2009, that it was incredibly unlikely to happen. And sure enough, here we are just a year later, in an economy that the government and Federal Reserve officials simultaneously claim is prosperous and strong, and once again the story has changed.

The Fed has slowly been winnowing that $4 trillion portfolio by allowing up to $50 billion in bonds to mature each month, but officials appeared to agree in January that the balance sheet runoff should end this year.

Officials agreed that “it would be desirable to announce before too long a plan to stop reducing the Federal Reserve’s asset holdings later this year” and said the announcement “would provide more certainty about the process for completing the normalization of the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet.”

Consider me officially perplexed as to how announcing a cessation of balance sheet tightening provides more clarity in regards to the normalization process. Because as an investor, the idea that the Federal Reserve is once again unable to follow through on what it previously promised creates the exact opposite of certainty.

Which is why I continue to suggest that it’s a much more profitable and advisable strategy to pay attention to what the Fed does, rather than what it says. Because it’s not some mystical feat of clairvoyance that allowed me to forecast in advance that the Fed would run into significant issues if it tried to undo the past decade of policy.

But rather just a basic understanding of the Austrian economics ideology that allowed so many gold and silver advocates like Peter Schiff, Rick Rule, and Jim Rogers to see the previous bubble implosions well in advance.

Sometimes it’s incredible to see how so many market participants still take the Fed statements as indisputable fact. Especially given the Fed’s track record of missing all of the bubbles. In many cases even after they began to implode.

Yet for those who would like to be aware of what’s coming before it’s too late to do something about it, I’ll just reiterate what Rogers said to me during an interview when he mentioned how “when people lose confidence in government and money, they always buy gold and silver.”

I still have yet to find any reason why this time will be any different. And if you have any questions as to why, as always you’re welcome to email me here.

Chris Marcus

-To purchase physical precious metals including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, call Miles Franklin today at 1-800-822-8080

-Or get Miles Franklin’s FREE report on why the price of silver is set to explode!


I’ve certainly been blessed to have a fascinating financial career! 

After graduating college my first job was at bond rating agency Moody’s.

Yes. The same folks who rated all of the sub-prime bonds with their highest Aaa rating, and ironically still rate U.S. debt similarly. To say the least it was an eye-opener.

After 2 years I left to attend Wharton, which also included a summer internship with Merrill Lynch. Which again has been fascinating in hindsight. Sitting on a trading desk in 2004 and seeing them sell any combination of mortgage products you could imagine, only to have it all take on a drastically different perspective years later.

However following Wharton I joined a small equity options trading firm called Susquehanna International Group (SIG). Which in hindsight turned out to be an incredibly fortunate break.

Unlike what I experienced in my brief time in banking culture, SIG had a unique training program that focused on decision making. In fact we were even required to log 100 hours of monitored poker playing, as SIG was a big proponent of poker being an excellent training tool for trading.

It was a critical part of my development, and years later when the housing bubble collapsed and understanding the markets on a larger level became the focus of my research, I was fortunate to have an incredible foundation.

Since then I’ve re-fallen in love with studying the financial markets and incorporating world events into successful trading. I’ve also felt a responsibility to pass along what I’ve discovered, so that as many people as possible can let the coming world events work to their advantage.

I appreciate you visiting this site and taking an interest in my research. Should you have any questions or comments I always look forward to hearing from you here


Chris Marcus

Founder of Arcadia Economics

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