Category Archives: Federal Reserve

Is the Strong Dollar the Real Cause of the Collapse of US Manufacturing and Secular Stagnation?

Yves here. I managed to miss this VoxEU post from last month, and it is still timely. It argues that economists have generally been using the wrong measure of relative dollar strength to assess how the level of the currency played into the loss of manufacturing jobs and insufficient internal demand, now better known as “secular stagnation”.

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Market Rout Continues, Proving Abject Failure of Fed’s Forecasts and Policies (Updated)

In case you missed it, it’s ugly out there. US markets swooned as an unexpectedly weak manufacturing report, the ISM, was so bad it couldn’t be attributed solely to bad weather and deepened investor funk.

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Former IMF Chief Economist, Now India’s Central Bank Governor Rajan Takes Shot at Bernanke’s Destabilizing Policies

As Bernanke is about to take leave of office, attacks on his policies are becoming louder, thanks to financial markets turmoil resulting from the Bernanke/Geithner approach to the crisis: do whatever it takes to restore as much of status quo ante as possible. The problem, of course, is that status quo ante is what got us in this mess in the first place.

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Mr. Market is Getting Frazzled Over the Fed’s Neglect of Its Pet Wishes

A brief surge of optimism, in the form of a short-lived rally in the belegured Turkish Lira and South African rand after their central banks raised interest rates to try to halt the plunge in currency values, has fizzled. And the Fed reducing its dosage of market tonic, in the form of QE, only soured investors’ already bad mood.

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The Emerging Markets Rout Abates….for Now

Journalists and laypeople tend to use stock markets at their proxy for economic and financial market conditions. The performance of US stock markets looked like an encouraging return to a semblance of normalcy after last week’s squall, until a wave of selling in the final hour, with 600 million shares of volume, pushed the major indexes solidly into negative territory. As of this writing, that barometer is still a bit wobbly. Australia was down 1.26% overnight and the Nikkei off .17%. But Chinese and the Singapore markets are up, as are European and the S&P and DJIA indices.

But some of the explanations are less persuasive than others.

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Global Dollar-Based Financial Fragility in the 2000s (Part I)

Yves here. It’s been frustrating to see orthodox economists continue to invoke the Bernanke “saving glut hypothesis” as a significant driver of the crisis. That view was rebutted in gory detail in a 2010 paper by Claudio Borio and Piti Disyatat of the BIS, “Global imbalances and the financial crisis: Link or no link?” (see Andrew Dittmer’s summary here). Not surprisingly, the orthodoxy has chosen to ignore this paper.

A new working paper by Junji Tokunaga and Gerald Epstein, “The Endogenous Finance of Global Dollar-Based Financial Fragility in the 2000s: A Minskian Approach,” builds on the perspective of the Borio/Disyatat paper. Readers should find this summary to be a straightforward, persuasive discussion of an important topic.

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How Bitcoin Plays Into the Hands of Central Bankers and Will Facilitate the Use of Negative Interest Rates

Bitcoin enthusiasts like to present it as a “power to the people” form of money, stressing its apparent lack of ownership (the “Napster for finance“). They stress the lack of need for a “trusted party” like a bank or broker to verify that a payment has been made. And many clearly relish the idea of launching a currency outside the control of central banks (plus this beats Cryptonomicon in geekery).

If you believe the hype, you’ve been had.

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