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Friday, July 8, 2016

Why the “Bond King” Is Having Flashbacks of the 2008 Financial Crisis

By Justin Spittler

As you probably know, Great Britain stunned the world by voting to leave the European Union on June 23. The “Brexit,” as folks are calling it, triggered a selloff that wiped $3 trillion from global stocks in two days. The announcement also shook the currency market. The pound sterling plunged 8% the day after the news broke. It was one of the British currency’s worst days ever. The U.S. dollar, euro, and Japanese yen experienced huge moves too.

It’s now been two weeks since the historic event and panic is still in the air. Investors around the world have piled into government bonds, which are widely considered safe assets. Yesterday, the yield on the 10 year U.S. Treasury hit a fresh all time low. Yields on British, Irish, German, and Japanese 10 year bonds also hit record lows. A bond’s yield falls when its price rises. Investors have loaded up on gold too. The price of gold has shot up 8% since June 23.
This shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve been reading the Dispatch. Regular readers know gold is the ultimate safe haven asset. It’s preserved wealth through every sort of financial crisis because it’s unlike any other asset. It’s durable, easily divisible, and easy to carry. Its value doesn’t depend on “confidence” in any government. In other words, it’s real money. After its Brexit fueled rally, gold is up 29% on the year. It’s at its highest price since March 2014. Yet, this rally is showing no signs of slowing down.

The SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) just had one of its best days ever..…
On Tuesday, investors put $1.3 billion into the fund, which tracks the price of gold. According to Investor's Business Daily, it was the fund’s third best day ever. It was also the fund’s best day since stocks crashed on August 8, 2011. Investors have now plowed $15.26 billion into GLD this year. That’s the most of any of the 1,931 ETFs tracked by global analytics and research firm XTF.

In London, the panic has gotten so bad that several fund managers stopped their funds from trading..…
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday:
Henderson Global Investors, Columbia Threadneedle and Canada Life are the latest fund managers to stop investors pulling their money out against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. The fresh moves by fund companies to suspend redemptions Wednesday came after Standard Life Investments, Aviva Investors and M&G Investments suspended trading on U.K. property funds earlier this week. This means that half of the 10 largest U.K. property fund managers have suspended trading temporarily.
In other words, these managers have trapped their investors’ money to keep their funds from collapsing.

"Bond King" Bill Gross says something very similar happened just before the 2008 financial crisis..…
Gross is one of the world’s most well-known investors. He founded Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) in 1971. Under his watch, PIMCO grew into the world’s biggest bond fund. Today, he runs his own bond fund at Janus Capital. Like us, Gross is worried about what’s happening in London right now. Bloomberg Business reported yesterday:
“It’s reminiscent of Bear Stearns’ subprime funds before the Lehman debacle,” Bill Gross, a fund manager at Janus Capital Group, said on Bloomberg TV. “The system doesn’t allow liquidity to flow into the proper places. If these property funds are just one indication, perhaps there will be others to follow. I think it’s something to worry about.”
The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 helped set the global financial crisis in motion. The S&P 500 went on to plunge 57% in two years. And the U.S. economy entered its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Government officials are scrambling to contain the crisis..…
Last week, the Bank of England (BoE) pumped £3.1 billion into Britain’s banking system. It pledged to inject as much as £250 billion to stabilize its financial system. And on Tuesday this week, the BoE announced more “stimulus” measures. It eased special capital requirements for Britain’s banks. Specifically, the BoE lowered how much money banks need to hold as a “buffer.” The move increases the lending capacity of U.K. banks by as much as £150 billion. Economists at the BoE believe more borrowing and spending will stimulate the economy. As we’ve shown you many times, this won’t work. Casey Research founder Doug Casey explains:
It’s part of the Keynesian view, in which spending and consumption drive the economy. This isn’t just wrong, it’s the exact opposite of what’s true. It’s production and saving that drive an economy. You have to save to build capital, and capital is necessary for…everything. What these people are doing is destructive of civilization itself.
Still, this won’t be the last stimulus measure that the BoE rolls out..…
Last Tuesday, we said the BoE would likely cut interest rates. Two days later, Mark Carney, who heads the BoE, said the central bank needs to cut rates soon. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Mr. Carney said it was his personal view that the central bank would need to cut its key interest rate, currently 0.5%, “over the summer,” adding that an initial assessment of the economic damage caused by the vote to leave the EU would be made at the Monetary Policy Committee’s July meeting, and a “full assessment,” alongside new forecasts for growth and inflation, would take place in August. That suggests he favors an August move, while leaving the door open to an earlier decision.
According to The Telegraph, the BoE could cut rates much sooner than August. That’s because the financial markets have “priced in” a 78% chance that the BoE will cut rates next week. But there’s a problem. The BoE’s key rate is currently 0.50%. In other words, it doesn’t have much room to cut rates. To stimulate the economy, the BoE will likely have to launch quantitative easing (QE), which is just another term for “money printing.”

The BoE won’t fix Britain’s economy by cutting rates or printing money..…
According to MarketWatch, central banks have cut rates more than 650 times since Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008. They have also “printed” more than $12 trillion over the same period. And yet, the global economy is barely growing. The U.S., Europe, Japan, and China—the world’s four biggest economies—are all growing at their slowest rates in decades. There’s no reason to think these easy money policies will work this time. It’s much more likely that central bankers will destroy the currencies they’re supposed to defend. Doug Casey explains:
In a desperate attempt to stave off a day of financial reckoning during the 2008 financial crisis, global central banks began printing trillions of new currency units. The printing continues to this day. And it’s not just the Federal Reserve that’s doing it: it’s just the leader of the pack. The U.S., Japan, Europe, China…all major central banks are participating in the biggest increase in global monetary units in history. These reckless policies have produced not just billions, but trillions in malinvestment that will inevitably be liquidated. This will lead us to an economic disaster that will in many ways dwarf the Great Depression of 1929–1946. Paper currencies will fall apart, as they have many times throughout history.
If you do one thing to protect yourself from reckless governments, own gold. As we mentioned above, gold is real money—it’s the only currency that doesn’t depend on a government or central bank doing the right thing. For other ways to safeguard your wealth, watch this free presentation. We encourage you watch this video even if you don’t have a dime in the stock market. That’s because the coming crisis will hit you no matter where you keep your money. The good news is that you can protect your money if you make the right moves soon. You could even turn this threat into an opportunity to make a lot of money. Watch this short video to learn how.

REMINDER: Doug Casey will be in Las Vegas next week..…
Doug will be at FreedomFest 2016: Freedom Rising, an annual festival where free minds meet to talk, strategize, socialize, and celebrate liberty. Doug will be giving several speeches, and he’ll also receive an award for his new novel, Speculator. He’ll join a star-studded lineup of speakers that includes Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, Senator Rand Paul, and Agora founder Bill Bonner. FreedomFest takes place July 13–16 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. To learn more, visit Enter the code SALEM to get $100 off the ticket price.

Chart of the Day

Silver just set a new two year high. As you can see from today's chart, silver has soared 45% this year. On Monday, it topped $20 for the first time since August 2014. Longtime readers know that silver is gold’s more volatile cousin. Like gold, silver is real money. But unlike gold, it’s an industrial metal. It goes into everything from solar panels to batteries. Because of this, it's more volatile, and more sensitive to an economic slowdown than gold is.

So, if you’re nervous about the economy or financial system, the first thing you should do is own gold. We encourage most folks to hold 10% to 15% of their wealth in gold. Once you own enough gold, consider adding silver to your portfolio. It could see even bigger gains than gold in the years to come.

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