Submitted by Edward Harrison of Credit Writedowns.
This is a re-post of an article I wrote last night at Credit Writedowns where I stressed a U.S.-centric view of Faber’s comments that the Fed is a money printer. However, here I have re-dubbed the post to reflect Faber’s comments, which are more comprehensive, in effect pointing to the Federal Reserve as a blower of bubbles domestically and internationally, a view I also hold. Commenting in March of ’08 on the 1990s global economy, I said:
In my opinion, the global economy continued to grow above trend through to the new millennium because these hot money flows created bubbles only in less central parts of the global economy (Mexico in 1994-95, Thailand and southeast Asia in 1997, Russia and Brazil in 1998, and Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil in 2001-03). But, this growth was unsustainable as the global imbalances mounted.
So, with that in mind, here is the post. Note, there are four videos at the end. Unfortunately, I can’t get video on NC for some reason. So, to see the video, here is the link to the original post. Enjoy.
Below is a synopsis of a wide-ranging interview with Marc Faber over four videos on CNBC TV18 in India explaining view on inflation, currencies, commodities, stocks and more.
Asset-based economy. In general, he thinks we are in an inflationary environment, whereas I think that deleveraging is secular and means any inflation is only cyclical. But he shares my belief that zero interest rates induce money balances to move into consumption or into higher yielding assets. He believes this is a boon over the medium-term (if not the short-term or long-term) for financial assets, whether they be stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate or art. And it is something that will continue, he says. Faber believes Bernanke will be loath to raise rates aggressively given his prior statements and writings.
Currencies. Faber takes the view with which I agree that the Fed’s easy money policies after 1998 flooded the global economy, especially emerging economies with liquidity. This has led to asset bubbles. Hong Kong residential real estate is one example he cites. As a result, Faber thinks the U.S. dollar is no longer overvalued at present levels. A snapback rally for the dollar resulting from oversold levels would be bearish for asset markets. But, longer term, Faber thinks the dollar is weak.
Equities. There has been a huge rally everywhere. He says he is not a buyer at these levels. However, as central banks are going to continue to print money, stocks could continue higher – but he would not bet on a blow off rally from these levels.
Commodities. Faber thinks zero rate levels makes it extremely difficult to value anything. Pose the question: which would you rather own – the “US dollar at zero interest rates or a ton of gold or a ton of copper or a ton of crude oil?” Of course, commodities are supply constrained, whereas dollars are not, so there is a justification for buying them. But, he anticipates the commodity hoarding by China is about to end and that is bearish for industrial commodities as well as precious metals. As with other commodities, he thinks the huge run up in oil could induce a setback. Long run, he is an oil bull because of limited supply.
Financial Crisis. He is disturbed by the fact that a crisis caused by excessive debt growth, especially as a result of Federal Reserve policy has been allowed to pass with the same players in control. He says enjoy the ride for now. Longer-term, this necessarily means the same bad policies will follow and it will lead to a system-wide financial collapse.
India. Faber is bullish longer-term. Short-term, there could be a correction. India is one of the best protected countries because of less vulnerability to the export sector. He also believes the Reserve Bank of India has one of the best monetary policies in the world – supervise the financial system closely, relatively tight, and mindful not just of core inflation but other price levels like asset prices.