By Dominique de Kevelioc de Bailleul
If a 1.53 percent yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries isn’t enough to spook investors of a global economy on the verge of implosion, Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies expects the Fed to aggressively respond by ceasing to pay interest on excess reserves held at the U.S. central bank—and removing all reserve requirements on purchases of sovereign debt. Fed Chairman Bernanke has his sites on negative rates. The gold bugs will surely like that.
The one-two punch of a bazooka QE3 of that size, the potential onslaught of capital fleeing into hard assets as a result of a no-reserve global banking system, could be more than the Fed bargained for, and clearly indicates how desperate central bankers have become to prevent the largest Ponzi scheme of history from collapsing, according to Pento.
“So let me put it together for your listeners,” Pento told King World News (KWN), Sunday. “We have $1.42 trillion of excess reserves. We are now going to be told that there will be no capital reserve requirements on owning sovereign debt. You will have commercial banks flooding the market with the purchase of sovereign debt. Not just U.S. debt, Portuguese debt, Spanish debt, Greek debt, all of that debt will have zero capital requirements.”
In other words, the Fed intends to lower the rate of the riskiest of all sovereign debt while punishing cash hoarders of the least risky sovereign debt, because, surely, rates on the shorter end of the Treasury curve will turn negative and it’s hoped will move the 10-year Treasury that much closer to zero, as well. Ditto for sovereign and commercial debt across the entire spectrum of the global credit markets.
That’s the plan, according to Pento, but the market reaction to such a desperate, high-risk policy move is expected to soar commodities and the precious metals, as the last step beyond a no-reserve requirement banking system is ‘helicopter money’ directly into the hands of consumers.
“Let me be clear on this, I’m not saying it could increase M2 money supply to $15 trillion, this could increase it by $15 trillion,” Pento continued. “So we’re talking perhaps about $24 trillion. It has the potential to increase to rapidly increase the global money supply, and it would be a tremendous boost to commodities, oil and precious metals.”
Pento’s expectations for such a move is consistent with earlier policy suggestions made by the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee in January 2012 (reported by zerohedge, Feb. 1, 2012), which stated in its report to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, “There was a lengthy discussion regarding the bid-to-cover ratios at recent Treasury bill auctions. It was broadly agreed that flooring interest rates at zero, or capping issuance proceeds at par, was prohibiting proper market function.
“The Committee unanimously recommended that the Treasury Department allow for negative yield auction results as soon as logistically practical.”
And it would make no sense for the Fed to impede the plan by requiring reserves on top of the U.S. Treasury actually charging bill and note holders of U.S. debt for lending the U.S. government money. In this perverse environment of targeting negative interest rates, it’s become clear that the Fed has given up on the U.S. economy, and more broadly, hopes of the global economy pulling the U.S. out of its nosedive; Bernanke and Company are merely playing out a losing hand—a hand that ShadowStats economist John Williams has said will lead to hyperinflation by the close of 2014. Lowering borrowing costs to offset lower tax receipts to service $15.8 trillion of U.S. debt in addition to the fiscal 2013 budget is the only option left open to the Fed.
“Outside timing on the hyperinflation remains 2014, but events of the last year have accelerated the movement towards this ultimate dollar catastrophe,” Williams said in an interview with KWN, Jan. 26, 2012. “Following Mr. Bernanke‘s extraordinary efforts to debase the U.S. currency in late-2010, the dollar had lost its traditional safe-haven status by early-2011. Whatever global confidence had remained behind the U.S dollar was lost in July and August .”
Pento agrees, understating the Fed’s goal of negative interest rates—on top of zero reserve requirements—as “not a good idea.”
Pento said in his July 8 interview with KWN, “What he [Bernanke] needs to do is let the free market work, and I can tell you that unleashing $1.5 trillion into the American economy, and having that money roll-over and multiply (to $15 trillion), through the money-multiplier-effect, is not a very good idea.”
Indeed, it is not a good idea, but there is no other idea left for the Fed to execute.
Spot gold: $1,569 per Troy ounce.